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Decoding Changes in Customer Behaviour Post COVID

The pandemic has influenced almost every element of our existence. Some changes have been abrupt and involuntary, such as social distance, the wearing of masks, the suspension of public transportation, travel limitations, and so on. For others, it has simply hastened the adoption of previously popular behaviors, such as the digitization of shopping, banking, and other services.

But the question here remains – is this change temporary or permanent?

 All consumer behavior is strongly influenced by the location and time of its onset. Depending on cultures, geography, and other factors, the behavior might vary considerably from one region to the next.

Consumer behavior is becoming more complex as a result of the epidemic; for example, because physical movement is constrained, consumers are moving into virtual worlds at an unprecedented rate, exposing themselves to newer influences. This may necessitate a departure from typical approaches of modeling their behavior.

Changes in behavior and habits are also linked to the amount of time spent in new situations. According to studies, it can take anything from 18 to 254 days to acquire a new habit; on average, it takes 66 days. People are more likely to embrace habits that do not dramatically alter their current routine. In reaction to the various waves of this epidemic, consumers are settling into new patterns of behavior for extended periods. This is an ideal environment for the creation of new habits.

How has Consumer Behaviour Changed Post COVID?

Five important themes in behavioral changes as a result of COVID-19’s impact are emerging:

    • People are migrating to digital platforms for day-to-day needs, resulting in increased digital adoption.
    • Changes in mobility habits: decreased reliance on public transportation, more remote employment, and so forth.
    • Purchasing habits are changing, with a shift toward value-based purchases and internet buying.
    • Increased health awareness: masks, improved cleanliness, good nutrition, and so forth.
    • Changes in interpersonal behavior, such as an increase in divorce and pet adoption.
Source: Swiss Re Institute

As shown in the image above, these trends are intertwined and overlapping. The epidemic has boosted people’s usage of digital technologies in their personal and professional lives in order to stay connected in a physically detached environment. Digital tools are blurring the barriers between work, lifestyle, and social contact, as well as between sectors such as mobility, health, and money. In the post-COVID-19 environment, we expect this to continue.

Consumer behavior in the aftermath of a pandemic can be predicted based on previous experiences. SARS’ spread in 2003, for example, created a lasting impression on those who lived through it. People are still washing their hands, using toothpicks to press elevator buttons, using tissue paper to unlock public lavatory doors, and even carrying spare masks in their handbags, according to anecdotal evidence.

5 Key Trends Seen Post COVID in Consumer Behaviour

1. Increased Digital Adoption

From shopping and eating to entertainment, financial services, fitness, and education, COVID-19 has expedited the scope and reach of digital transformation. In a recent study, 58 % of US consumers said they were spending more money online; 27 % said they had signed up for at least one new digital streaming service, and 42% said they had made more purchases using their mobile devices.


Apps for business and videoconferencing have seen a significant spike in downloads. For example, in March 2020, downloads of the Houseparty App were 2,360 times more than the weekly average in Q4 of 2019. Apps for ordering groceries and food like Grofers and Zomato too have also become popular.

2. Changes in Mobility Patterns

On the grassroots, shifting mobility patterns have resulted in a decrease in the usage of public transportation, primarily owing to safety and cleanliness concerns. According to a recent survey, health issues are now more essential than the time and expense of getting to the destination.

Source: City Maps

This means that private automobiles will be used more frequently and shared mobility options will be used more cautiously. More people are riding, for example, and many governments are responding by building the required infrastructure. However, only about a third of this new infrastructure looks to be permanent, indicating that for many consumers, this transformation may not be permanent.

3. Changes in Purchasing Behaviour

In addition to the shift online, there have been noteworthy changes in customer purchasing behavior. Consumers in numerous locations throughout the world are transitioning to value-based purchasing, which prioritizes getting the most value for the money spent, according to surveys. Consumers have prioritized necessities and cut back on discretionary spending.

Moengage and Apptopia

Customers in China, on the other hand, have raised their trip expenditure, while consumers in India have increased their spending during the festive and wedding seasons. Another point to consider is the effect of shock on loyalty. When a consumer’s typical purchase pattern is disturbed, they try out new brands to see whether they offer better value, and if they do, they are likely to stick with the new brand.

Finally, there has been a greater desire to buy locally, as evidenced by both the products purchased (for example, locally sourced, artisanal) and how customers shop (for example, supporting community stores).

4. Increased Health Awareness

COVID-19’s rapid dissemination and influence have increased public awareness of health and well-being. According to a consumer poll conducted in August, the most common concerns were “personal health” and “health of friends and family.” As a result, people are choosing healthier lifestyles. According to a survey, roughly 4% of individuals in Italy have quit smoking, while the number of people sleeping for about nine hours per day has climbed by about nine times.

Fitness is becoming more popular. The number of people who use fitness applications online is expected to grow by 25% year over year to 826 million in 2020, and one billion by 2024. Similarly, the number of people who use wearables is expected to rise by 26% year over year to 441.5 million by 2020.

5. Changes in Interpersonal Behaviour

COVID-19 has also influenced other aspects of behavior. One is an increase in divorce rates, particularly during the early stages of lockdowns, when marriages were strained. Divorce lawyers in China report a 25% spike in divorce cases, while some lawyers in the United States estimate a 30% year-over-year increase in divorce filings following COVID-19.

Nonetheless, other stories claim that marriages in the United Kingdom have been reinforced as a result of lockdowns. Natural disasters have been linked to greater divorce rates, whereas man-made disasters have been linked to reduced divorce rates, according to certain studies.

The Bottomline

The COVID-19 experience is transforming the world in which we live as well as our behavior. Positive changes, particularly those driven by convenience and well-being, such as digital adoption, value-based purchasing, and enhanced health awareness, are more likely to continue. As a result, businesses will be able to supply customers with new, modular, granular, value-based, and integrated products. It is critical for businesses to recognize and adapt to their customer’s tastes to remain relevant.