Has the pandemic changed shopping behaviors forever?
It’s been said that people who came out of America’s Great Depression were forever changed by the experience and that it affected their attitudes until the end of their days. The experience of living through the novel coronavirus pandemic appears to be having a similarly profound effect on people today.
New research of global consumers by EY found that half believe that the way they live their lives will be significantly changed for the long-term as a result of the virus disrupting the worlds they knew before.
While 40 percent just want to “get to normal,” 53 percent say their experiences have led them to reevaluate their personal values and how they approach their lives.
EY has identified five key consumer segments with new or intensified attitudes as a result of living through the pandemic:
Affordability first: Thirty percent of people are focused on living within their financial means. These individuals are the most pessimistic when it comes to their expectations of their country recovering from the pandemic and the effects it will have on their incomes.
Health first: Twenty-six percent prefer to buy and use products they trust to be safe and minimize risks. Fifty-seven percent say they are now paying greater attention to how healthy the items they buy are for them.
Planet first: Seventeen percent are willing to pay higher prices for ethically sourced and sustainable items. These consumers are most likely to switch the products and brands they buy. Fifty-nine percent plan to shop more locally going forward.
Society first: Sixteen percent believe that we are in this together and should collectively engage in activities that work towards the greater good. Seventy-three percent of these people are prepared to make changes in their lives to benefit society and prefer to buy from organizations that reflect that same attitude.
Experience first: Eleven percent of consumers are not thinking about the long- or even medium-term. For them, it’s about living in the moment. Two-thirds of this group feel entirely comfortable about shopping in public as stores and malls reopen. People in this segment are least concerned about their health or finances.
- EY Future Consumer Index: five consumer segments will shape demand beyond the COVID-19 pandemic – EY
- As consumers keep adapting, how will your business keep changing with them? – EY
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think that a large percentage of consumers will have their purchasing behavior shaped for the long-term as a result of living through the COVID-19 pandemic? What do you expect to be the effect on retailers and brands?