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How can companies successfully plan their recovery?

Consumer behaviour has changed radically in response to the COVID-19 lockdown. Understanding which changes are likely to stick will help companies plan for the recovery.

As the world begins its slow pivot from managing the COVID-19 crisis to recovery and the reopening of economies, it’s clear that the lockdown has had a profound impact on how people live. The period of contagion, self-isolation, and economic uncertainty will change the way consumers behave, in some cases for years to come.

These rapid shifts have important implications for any consumer-facing company. Because many of the longer-term changes are still being formed, companies have an opportunity, if they act now, to help shape the next normal. Three takeaways are emerging from our efforts to form a holistic view of the new post-COVID-19 consumer:

COVID-19 is changing how consumers behave across every aspect of their lives. As consumers sheltered at home, adoption of new digital services took place at a blistering pace. In addition to growing health and hygiene concerns, economic recession, and the related decline in consumption, the scope of the change to people’s lives is staggering.

Broad shifts to new behaviors hide significant variations. Consumer behaviors will likely fluctuate until we reach the next normal. How long they stick will depend on a range of factors including satisfaction with new experiences, demographics, infrastructure, and the severity of the recession.

Companies must rethink how and where they connect with consumers. They should expect to encounter structural challenges and upheaval across multiple dimensions. Overall consumption is shrinking, the shopping basket is undergoing a significant change in mix, and consumers are changing the ways they get their information.

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