JACKSONVILLE, FLA. — Consumers are more cautious than optimistic about the future, according to Acosta’s latest round of COVID-19 grocery shopper research.

The company conducted online surveys between June 12 and 17 and found 64% of shoppers are looking ahead with caution while 24% feel optimistic about the weeks and months ahead. Economic uncertainty was a major source of stress; 37% of consumers said they are worse off financially than they were before the pandemic, including 9% who said they are “much worse off.”

“As the pandemic stretches on, we see the toll it has taken on shoppers financially,” said Darian Pickett, chief executive officer of Acosta. “Millennials have been hit the hardest, with 43% of shoppers worse off than they were before the outbreak.”

A third of baby boomers and 38% of Gen Xers said they were worse off financially.

Around half of shoppers reported product availability and social distancing as their top post-pandemic priorities. Other common concerns include low prices (48%), customer safety (43%) and availability of deals and promotions (29%).

“A recession is here and will significantly impact the shopping habits of those affected,” Mr. Pickett said. “Low prices and promotions will be among the most important priorities for consumers post-COVID-19, though product availability remains their top concern.”

Many people have found more time for relaxation and sleep during the pandemic, according to Acosta, but healthy eating and exercise have been a challenge.

More than half of shoppers reported relaxing more, 40% reported sleeping more, and 32% reported spending more time outside, while 37% of shoppers reported exercising less and 33% said they are eating less healthy. A third of shoppers reported consuming more vitamins and supplements, and 21% said they are eating more natural, organic and vegetarian foods.