Report: Gulf South Consumers Ready for Adventure, Trust Local Sources

NEW ORLEANS – The most recent edition of Gulf South Index, created by the Ehrhardt Group and Causeway Solutions, shows that consumers in the region are ready to get up and out of the house – and they place their trust in local sources of information the most.

The report actually shows that Gulf South residents are less optimistic at this stage of the pandemic than the country at large. 60% of those polled in the Gulf South said 2021 would be a better year for them personally than 2020 – as opposed to 69% nationwide. But that overall optimism means a growing number of people are getting out and about again, said the Index’s authors. More than 50% of respondents in the Gulf South, for instance, said they are planning a road trip within the next three months.

“The pent-up demand seems very clear,” said Marc Ehrhardt, president of the Ehrhardt Group, in a press release. “People aren’t necessarily ready to get on an airplane, but they’re ready for a road trip.”

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The Index also shows a higher level of trust in local news sources and businesses than in national news outlets and governments. More than two-thirds of people in the Gulf South trust local news to present information accurately.

“The headline here is being local and knowing local is more important than ever,” said Ehrhardt. “What we see is that people are looking in larger numbers toward local sources for information.”

The Index shows businesses are being rewarded for their efforts during the pandemic as well.

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“We’ve seen businesses take a proactive approach to help people preserve their jobs, work at home and remain on salary,” said Causeway Solutions CEO Bill Skelly. “Businesses have taken steps to garner trust. You have to go out and earn someone’s trust. Businesses more than anyone else have gone out and done that during the pandemic.”

The latest Gulf South Index findings are the result of a series of online surveys, each of 1,443-1,500 adults with a margin of error of 2.5%.  Surveys were conducted on Feb. 25, 2021 and March 16, 2021.

Download the full 2021 Gulf South Index Report here.

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