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Customer Experience

New Research: Majority of customers support vaccine mandates for holiday shopping

Nearly a year after the first vaccines were administered in the U.S., COVID fears are still interrupting holiday plans, according to new research from Qualtrics.

Fewer than half of working Americans (38%) feel comfortable participating in holiday sales events like Black Friday. And 70% say the pandemic will affect their purchasing habits this year, with 35% saying they will shop more online. Across the globe, requiring customers to get vaccinated before shopping or dining in person is a growing solution to these concerns.

In light of all the things businesses can’t control right now, including supply chain delays and labor shortages, making customers feel safe is one area where leaders can focus their efforts. That starts with understanding and then acting on customers’ needs and worries about the in-person shopping experience.

Qualtrics asked employed Americans how COVID is impacting their holiday plans, and what would make them feel the most safe when going out in public.

Most customers support vaccine requirements

As cities including New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco implement new rules requiring people to show proof of vaccination to enter businesses and venues, the majority of Americans (59%) support businesses that require customers and employees to be vaccinated in order to work, shop or dine in person.

  • 59% support businesses that require vaccines for customers and employees vs. 21% who do not support them.
  • 49% are more likely to shop at stores with vaccine requirements vs. 18% who are less likely.
  • 54% support vaccine passports being used in the United States for travel or for visiting businesses like restaurants, movie theaters or gyms vs. 30% who do not support vaccine passports.

Stat regarding opinions on vaccine mandates for customers and employees

Where shoppers feel most comfortable

Shoppers feel most comfortable in stores where masks are required for everyone and least comfortable in stores where masks are not required for anyone.

In stores where:

  • Masks are required for all customers and employees: 61% feel comfortable vs. 16% who feel uncomfortable
  • Masks are required for unvaccinated customers and employees: 54% feel comfortable vs. 21% who feel uncomfortable
  • Masks and vaccines are required for all customers and employees: 54% feel comfortable vs. 23% who feel uncomfortable
  • Vaccines are required for all customers and employees: 49% feel comfortable vs. 25% who feel uncomfortable
  • No masks or vaccines required: 34% feel comfortable vs. 43% who feel uncomfortable

How COVID is impacting holiday plans

As the pandemic continues to affect holiday plans for gathering, shopping and travel, vaccines will be a source of contention among family and friends this year.

  • Half (50%) of people are worried about gathering for the holidays because of COVID
    • 52% say vaccines will be a source of contention at gatherings this year — with Democrats, vaccinated people and younger people more likely to be worried than their counterparts
    • 19% of people have unvaccinated family members or friends they will not visit this season because of their vaccination status
  • Holiday travel is happening, but most don’t feel it is safe.
    • While 59% are planning to travel for the holidays, only 44% feel comfortable with holiday travel
  • Less than half of Americans are comfortable participating in the following holiday activities:
    • 45% feel comfortable attending holiday office parties
    • 44% feel comfortable traveling for the holidays
    • 41% feel comfortable attending religious services
    • 39% feel comfortable participating in major sales events like Black Friday
    • 36% feel comfortable attending or participating in Thanksgiving day football games or other sporting events
    • 33% feel comfortable attending large public gatherings like NYE parties and Thanksgiving Day Parades

The pandemic continues to shape purchasing habits

The top four ways the pandemic is affecting shopping plans are:

  1. 35% say they will do more holiday shopping online
  2. 24% say they will buy more comfortable clothes
  3. 21% will buy more technology for personal use
  4. 19% will buy more tools or technology for remote work


This study was fielded between Oct. 12 and Oct. 15, 2021. Respondents were selected from a randomized panel and considered eligible if they live in the United States, are at least 18 years of age and are employed full time or part time. The total number of respondents was 1,309. Respondents who did not pass quality standards were removed.

Learn more about Qualtrics’ Vaccination and Testing manager here.

Learn more about the Qualtrics Vaccination & Testing Manager

Qualtrics // Experience Management

Qualtrics is the technology platform that organizations use to collect, manage, and act on experience data, also called X-data™. The Qualtrics XM Platform™ is a system of action, used by teams, departments, and entire organizations to manage the four core experiences of business—customer, product, employee, and brand—on one platform.

Over 12,000 enterprises worldwide, including more than 75 percent of the Fortune 100 and 99 of the top 100 U.S. business schools, rely on Qualtrics to consistently build products that people love, create more loyal customers, develop a phenomenal employee culture, and build iconic brands.

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