Kantar: 3 consumer trends in the new normal

People around the world continue to be deeply concerned about the economy. We have all found a “new normal” in lockdown, however much we miss our old life. At the same time, however, we are ready to relax the measures that have been gradually introduced in many countries. This is evident from the fourth measurement of Kantars COVID-19 Barometer. This large global study shows how COVID-19 affects people’s lives in more than 50 countries.

People are a little less anxious than in mid-March when the corona crisis peaked around the world. Still, 73% of people worldwide say they are (very) very concerned about the current situation (compared to 79% at the end of March).

This is now 67% of the Dutch (against 77% at the end of March). More than a third of the Dutch are still afraid of getting corona, even if they strictly adhere to all measures and regulations. Consumer behavior is also changing more and more. Kantar identifies three major trends that could change consumer behavior permanently, even if this pandemic is over.

Online shopping is booming

Nothing grows faster in the retail market than e-commerce. Already in Kantar’s first measurement in mid-March, it was seen that about 10% of consumers started shopping online for the first time, and that households that already bought online were doing that considerably more. Currently, one in three households worldwide (significantly) say they buy online more often. In the Netherlands, where online shopping is already big anyway, 27% say that.

In addition, 33% of households expect to shop more online in the future. In addition, 38% worldwide and 20% in the Netherlands expect to continue to make purchases in the future via the websites they were visiting for the first time. We therefore dare to state that you as a brand do well to scale up your e-commerce activities where necessary and to ensure that your online customer experience is in order.

Does this mean the end of the physical store? Certainly not. A quarter of online shoppers still find shopping in a physical store a lot more pleasant than online. Stores that are opening should therefore invest even more in the experience.

People will continue to watch the little ones for a while

People are deeply concerned about the economic consequences of the corona crisis, including in the longer term. They are afraid that the virus will flare up again with all its consequences (72% worldwide vs. 48% in the Netherlands).
In fact, 45% of households worldwide are already experiencing a drop in income and 26% expect income to decline in the future. In the Netherlands – where so far “only” 18% has experienced a drop in income – no less than 35% fear that their own income will deteriorate in the future.

It is therefore logical that the consumer is looking more than ever at price, advertising promotions and value for money. The number of people who say they pay more attention to the prices of products and services has already risen worldwide to 68% (Netherlands: 38%). And 45% think that companies should help consumers by giving discounts or selling products (Netherlands: 29%).

Buying locally becomes mainstream

It was already crucial for environmentally conscious consumers, but other consumers also find it increasingly important how products are made and where they come from. All over the world we see that locally produced products are gaining popularity. 65% of consumers worldwide now prefer to purchase local products and services. In the Netherlands this is 69%. One in four consumers even think that the brands they use should start producing their products in their own country (again). In the Netherlands, this percentage is slightly lower at 19%.

It is also noteworthy that one in three consumers worldwide is afraid of running a health risk when using imported products. Especially Chinese and American products are seen as a risk by consumers in other countries. 60% of consumers worldwide (in the Netherlands: 40%) now (less) like to buy Chinese products, and 47% of consumers worldwide (Netherlands: 34%) say the same about American products.

Brands that want to survive in a (post-) corona era, let alone grow, do well to take these three trends seriously. Kantar expects the trends to continue for some time. In a crisis like this where everything is turned upside down, things change faster than usual. Moreover, these developments have been visible for some time. Large, well-established consumer brands will also need to have their e-commerce and customer experience in order if they are to continue to participate. These brands can certainly learn from newcomers to D2C (direct to consumers) who have proved faster and more creative in this lockdown period.

More information about the Covid-19 Barometer can be found on the Kantar website:

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