The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a dramatic shift in how we live our lives and conduct business. People are behaving and thinking differently, supply chains have been disrupted, and many retailers are falling by the wayside. The upheaval has led consumers to look at commerce in a new light and change their spending habits accordingly.

The consumer goods industry is one of the most heavily impacted, with consumer trends changing in a matter of weeks rather than years. And what’s more, there’s a lot of information to suggest that shopping habits forming now will endure once the crisis has passed.

How the Pandemic Has Reshaped Consumer Behavior

The Rise of Panic Buying

Photo by Chris Putnam.

Shutdowns have become integral to managing the spread of the coronavirus, but it has fueled uncertainty and worry about the continued availability of staples like flour, toilet paper, pasta, and rice. As soon as the public gets wind of an imminent shutdown, supermarket shelves are often stripped bare of essentials in a matter of days. 

Consumers Are More Focused on Satisfying Basic Needs

Photo by Dmitry Kalinovsky.

People are putting more focus on the necessities, with personal health a top priority. Food and medical security are also at the top of the list. Even as some countries reopen, there are still many jobs that have been lost, which has led to a bleak economic outlook for many families and national economies. 

Digital Commerce and Entertainment

Photo by blinovatl.

Cinemas and bars are still shut, and restaurants are mostly limited to providing takeout meals. People are still concerned about infections and the possibility of further outbreaks. Families choose to stay at home and are turning to online services for their entertainment; dinner and a movie have taken on new meaning. Subscription services like Netflix have experienced a 10% uptick in memberships as families learn to have a relaxing night in, and have food delivered to their door. Instagram shopping has also increased as more people engage with their smartphones on a daily basis. Check out how to make more sales by giving your online shoppers what they’re looking for.

Shoppers are Becoming Conscious Consumers

Zero waste photo by bondd.

Financial strain has meant that families are becoming more mindful of their purchases. They have learned to limit food waste, shop more consciously by choosing more sustainable options, and have their purchases delivered. Brands should start focusing on ensuring sustainability is a key part of their marketing message while also developing their e-commerce infrastructure. And if your business is interested in targeting a more personalized approach, read this guide.

Shopping More Local

Photo by Cathy Yeulet.

Border closures, even internal national ones, have created interest in buying local, and not straying too far afield to make purchases. Consumers are increasingly choosing to purchase locally sourced products from stores within their community.

Choosing a Healthy Economy

Image by Pattanaphong Khaunkaew.

People are showing a preference for retailers that make a visible effort to curb the spread of coronavirus. Hand sanitizer dispensers and cloth dispensers to wipe down trolley handles have now become essential to making consumers feel safer while shopping. Healthy and hygienic packaging can also go a long way to showing your commitment to customers’ and employees’ health and safety. 

The pandemic will pass, but many consumer habits that have sprung up because of it are expected to endure. Make sure your business is prepared for the shift in consumer behavior to ensure its long-term viability.

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