Are American Consumers Becoming More Cynical and Skeptical About COVID-19?
September 2021

According to research conducted by Decision Analyst there are six primary mindset segments when it comes to the COVID-19 virus. To determine these segments, we took into account consumers’ activities related to the pandemic, their precautionary measures taken, their mental wellbeing, and their overall handling of the pandemic.

Consumer Mindsets

What’s interesting is that in just the past several months, the “Emerging Cynics” and “Invincible Skeptics” segments have grown. As their names suggest, these groups are more likely than the others to have doubts about the virus, its origin, and pandemic-related behaviors, such as social distancing, masking, and vaccination.

During the same timeframe, the “Anxious Avoiders” segment has receded, as have “Proactive Hopefuls,” though to a lesser degree. Anxious Avoiders, as their name indicates, demonstrate the greatest amount of worry over the pandemic and are least likely to leave their homes for any reason. Proactive Hopefuls are very concerned about the pandemic, but they are taking a wide variety of precautions and are reasonably comfortable going places and carrying on with typical life activities.

Here are the shifts in mindset-segment percentages since we began measuring them in April 2021.

Covid Attitudes

What This Means About Changing Attitudes

As the pandemic continues, some of the consumer-attitude data is changing. Whether driven by general frustrations after nearly 18 months, the surge of the Delta variant, news of breakthrough cases after vaccinations, or economic issues, Americans are clearly still concerned and stressed. In fact, Anxious Avoiders and Concerned Protectors are more likely than members of the other segments to say they are even more stressed now than they were just a month ago. However, our data also show that for some, feelings of despair, disgust, and hopelessness may have shifted to annoyance, questions, and even resentment.

Covid Attitudes

According to Felicia Rogers, EVP at Decision Analyst, “As the pandemic wears on, and with the dangers we’re all witnessing from the Delta variant, people are quite obviously stressed and concerned. Each week more Americans are impacted personally through knowing people who are touched by the illness and/or by contracting it themselves. These experiences are shaping how people feel in the here and now and are causing a variety of concerns for the future. The longer this battle with COVID-19 continues, the more likely we are to see shifts in attitudes and behaviors.”

So the answer is yes, in the U.S., cynicism and skepticism surrounding the pandemic have grown. Getting the pandemic under control in a way that allows Americans to feel comfortable going about their daily lives—whatever that may look like in the future—is critical to improving the outlook and to restoring hope for the future.


The data comes from waves 17 and 19 of Decision Analyst’s “Consumer Reactions to COVID-19” tracking survey. All respondents were adults 18+ and live in the United States. Wave 17 was collected from 4/15/21 to 4/19/21 and was completed with 1,504 adults. Wave 19 data was collected from 8/30/2021 to 9/1/2021 completed with 1000 adults.

About Decision Analyst

Decision Analyst ( is a global marketing research and analytical consulting firm specializing in strategy research, new product development, advertising testing, and advanced modeling for marketing decision optimization. For over 40 years, the firm has delivered competitive advantage to clients throughout the world in consumer packaged goods, telecommunications, retail, technology, medical, and automotive industries.

Who is being impacted? What behaviors are changing and why? How are people feeling about what is happening around them? The report starts in March 2020.

Consumer Mindset Segmentation

View a summary of what makes each segment unique.

Take our Consumer Mindset Typing Tool and see which segment you are in.


If you have any questions about the Consumer Mindset Segmentation or the Typing Tool please contact:
Felicia Rogers
Executive Vice President
Phone: 1-817-640-6166


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