How Covid-19 Will Affect Consumer Behaviour

Consumers around the world are feeling the economic effects of Covid-19. Will customer purchasing behaviour follow suit?
2.7.2020
Written by
Andrea Wee

Covid-19 has changed the way we look at our business, operations,clients and talent. The consumption of media has changed now that most of us are confined in our homes. New apps and emerging softwares have come to light.The obvious decline of traditional media has begun long before quarantine but now it seems to be more permanent. Traditional advertising has seen a fall of 20% due to the pandemic.

As the day to day lives of people have changed in recent times, consumer spending behaviour is impacted.

Essential items are prioritised

Segments of customers show concern for their families and wellbeing. As a response to the current crisis, people have been ‘panic buying’and stockpiling essentials. The most purchased items are ones with a longer shelf life like pasta, rice, beans and canned food. This is to reduce the amount trips to the grocery store for produce. Items that are deemed ‘luxury’like chocolate and sweets however, have seen a decline in sales.

Shopping behaviours are evolving

There has been a swift and dramatic shift to e-commerce lately.Movement is limited and it is reflected by the adoption of new purchasing patterns. E-commerce sites have seen a boom in their sales while brick and mortar stores are forced to close temporarily. But unfortunately, some may not even reopen after the quarantine is lifted.

Alternative forms of entertainment

As the new normal sets in and we are unable to go to the cinema or partake in other outdoor activities. Consumers are now turning to other forms of entertainment. This is particularly true for millennials and the Gen-Z, with some of them paying for subscriptions services that they were never inclined to before like Netflix or Disney+.

Consumer purchasing power and income

Consumers may be spending more on food, household items and personal care items but buyers are purchasing with discretion. Abrupt declines include apparel, footwear, jewelry, accessories, travel, and any out of home entertainment.But as countries move further along the curve, there are increased pockets of spending when it comes to other non-essential items like fitness, makeup or pet-care.  But in global perspective,people expect their household income to continue to fall over the coming weeks as unemployment rates continue to soar.

Long term outlook

Looking ahead, most consumers remain hesitant to return to some of the activities that were routine and part of their daily life before the start of the pandemic. Consumers globally do not intend to undertake international travel soon either. But with every crisis, there is a silver lining. Businesses need to take this time to re-evaluate their plan and finding the new normal is imperative.

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