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Survey: Americans Bracing for Prolonged ‘Return to Normal’

SBB Research Group releases results from its fourth weekly survey assessing personal, economic and societal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.

Chicago, April 18, 2020 – Despite the White House’s announcement of a task force to reopen the US economy, Americans do not anticipate a return to normal life anytime soon, according to national survey results released by SBB Research Group. Today’s findings are the latest part of a research series from the Chicago-area investment firm, which studies a wide range of data to enhance its strategies. The company released its initial results on March 31, 2020.

“By conducting new surveys each week, we are able to gain current insights into the effects of the pandemic on American life and learn how sentiment is changing over time,” said Sam Barnett, PhD, the CEO of SBB Research Group.

Most 2020 Travel Canceled

In late March, almost half of surveyed travelers had canceled their trips through September. Now, 58 percent have canceled their travel plans for the rest of the year, and another 23 percent postponed the trips they had planned in 2020. Travel was the second most desired product or service—only after dining at restaurants—that consumers reported wanting to purchase after the pandemic subsides.

Still Months Expected Until Relative Normality

On average, surveyed Americans expect their lives to “generally return to normal” by mid-August, including one in eight foreseeing dates past 2020. The median response was the end of June. These views also varied significantly by political party affiliation: Republicans’ median expectation for a return to normalcy was 30 days sooner than that of Democrats or Independents.

Along with dining out and traveling, consumers are most eager to resume exercising at gyms, going to movies and concerts, shopping, and getting haircuts. Additionally, with the vast majority of Americans practicing social distancing and staying at home, social interactions have changed dramatically. Less than 10 percent are still visiting friends and family in person. Instead, text messaging has become the most common way to keep in touch with loved ones (88 percent), followed by phone calls (80 percent), emails (45 percent), video calls (36 percent), and other forms of digital communication.

Waiting for Stimulus Checks, Financial Concerns Persist

More than three-quarters of survey respondents expect to receive an economic stimulus check from the government. Expecting recipients, on average, plan to save 44 percent, pay down debt with 38 percent, spend 30 percent, and donate 4 percent of the money. However, this expectation has done little to ease concerns about the financial repercussions of COVID-19. Individuals now expecting stimulus checks are only about 5 percent less concerned than those surveyed a couple weeks ago, and more than half of these respondents are still “very” or “extremely” concerned.

This comes on the heels of a workforce that has been impacted heavily—more than a quarter of full- and part-time employees surveyed have been laid off or have experienced a reduction in hours or wages.

For more details about these findings, other COVID-19 survey results, and future updates from this research series, please visit

Survey Methodology Latest results based on 322 respondents in the United States who answered five-minute online questionnaires between April 9, 2020 and April 13, 2020. Certain analyses are based on subsets of the survey population only, and the participant counts for each subset is listed at Additional details about the survey methods and their limitations are available at

About SBB Research Group Founded in 2010, SBB Research Group is an innovative Chicago-area investment management firm. Founder and CEO Sam Barnett, PhD, is an applied mathematician and neuroscientist specializing in quantitative predictions of complex systems, and COO and CCO Matt Aven provides expertise in economics and computer science. They lead an interdisciplinary team of researchers continually striving to optimize the protection and growth of investor capital. The company specializes in creating bespoke funds seeking both stability and long-term results through a systematic investment approach.

This post first appeared on EIN Presswire and is also available on News 9, RFDTV, KTVN, and Focus VI Radio Magazine.


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