COVID-19 and consumer habits

Will the crisis have a lasting impact on consumption?

The pandemic has affected the economies of most countries and has hit many industries hard – mainly due to the drastic changes in consumer behaviour. Because of the lockdown and economic instability, consumers were forced to adjust their behaviour from one day to the next. Consumer trends, which had developed along a clear path in recent years, have now been disrupted. The question remains whether this interruption will have lasting consequences. What happens when the economy picks up again and social life slowly returns – what will the new normal of consumer behaviour look like?

Following five major consumer trends, Deloitte surveyed more than 2000 consumers and industry experts in Germany during the crisis, asking them how consumer behaviour has changed and what development is expected in the next twelve months:

1.Online vs. Offline

Due to the lockdown and increased health awareness, consumers have been forced to buy products online and use more digital services. But will this temporary trend continue after the crisis and in which sectors will this be particularly evident?

2. Sharing vs. Ownership

Before the crisis, the sharing economy reached an all-time high. What will happen after the crisis? Will consumers become more anxious about sharing space and products or will convenience return?

3. At home vs. Out and about

Conveniences such as dining out increased more and more before the crisis. The lockdown not only encouraged people to eat at home again, but also change their fitness habits. Will the crisis change the fitness and catering industry forever or do consumers long to return to their old habits?

4. Regional vs. Global

Over the last couple of decades, globalisation has been the driving force of our economy. This is the first time that global exchange, travel and supply chains have been seriously disrupted, particularly in the food and retail sectors. What will the new normal look like? Will consumers be willing to give up convenience and pay a contribution to support their regional economies?

5. Privacy vs. Comfort

Compared to some Asian countries, German consumers have always been very concerned about data protection and not sharing too much personal information. However, with the crisis and resultant increased dependence on digital services, many consumers have had to disclose their data more frequently than before. Will this cause a further change in thinking?

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