Pandemic Hankering: How Consumers Have Changed Their Desires And Behaviors

Email marketers may have to revise some of what they think they know about consumers.

The pandemic has led to new desires and consumer behaviors, and things may never return to what they were prior to COVID-19, according to Top 10 Global Consumer Trends, a study released Monday by research company Euromonitor International. 

The study identified these 10 trends:

Backup Planners

Supply-chain disruptions have prompted shoppers to turn to subscription services or community-group buying.

When thwarted, people are seeking alternatives or delaying purchases altogether. Research shows that 28% of consumers tried to buy locally sourced products and services in 2021. 

Climate Changers

People are suffering from what the study calls eco-anxiety. Two-thirds have tried to have a positive effect on the environment through their everyday actions. But a lesser number feel they can actually make a difference. The outlook: “Millennials and Gen Z, especially, feel they can make a difference through their choices."



This largest spending cohort of the future will use tools to ensure minimal climate impact. 

Digital Seniors

Older consumers became savvier tech users during the pandemic, and 82% of those age 60+ now own a smartphone.

In addition to shopping, they now use virtual solutions for socializing, health screening, finances and learning.

They are especially comfortable ordering from delivery-only food services. Brands should seek to build agile plans directed at both advanced digital seniors and elderly novices.

Financial Aficionados

Consumers turned to apps to manage their money during the pandemic, and many saved more, improving their financial position in the process. Research shows that 57% of consumers accessed a banking service through their smartphones weekly in 2020.

The study concludes that retailers brands should “collaborate with financial services corporations to facilitate alternate forms of payment, such as cryptocurrencies or buy now, pay later. 

The Great Life Refresh 

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many consumers to rethink their lives. For instance, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2121 and 4 million left their jobs in August.

Compared with 2015 levels, many more consumers now prefer to spend their money on experiences rather than things, and feel they can make a difference with their choices and actions. And more now say that spiritual beliefs are an important part of their life. All this means companies cannot simply revert to a pre-pandemic playbook. 

The Metaverse Movement

Consumers are embracing immersive, 3D digital services, and 37% took part in online video gaming at least once per week last year, versus 29% in 2015.

Innovative brands must invest in their AR/VR capabilities, as sports teams and artists are doing to host virtual events in an effort to meet consumers in-platform. 

Pursuit of Preloved

The desire for sustainability has removed the stigma once associated with second-hand shopping, resulting in growth in secondhand, recommerce and peer-to-peer marketplaces.

Gen Z is more likely to buy secondhand, and Baby Boomers are the least likely to do so. As part of this trend, firms should reuse or recycle materials for new product development.

Rural Urbanites

City dwellers want the benefits enjoyed by suburban and rural communities. And some left urban areas during the pandemic.

But the need for green spaces and faster, cleaner commutes is reshaping preferences in cities.

Moreover, 40% of professionals say their companies engaged in making sustainable cities and communities in 2021. What should brands do? Offer flexible brick-and-mortar and ecommerce shopping. 

Self-Love Seekers

Consumers in this group believe in being good to themselves. They pursue stress-reduction and mental well-being activities such as message, meditation, herbal remedies and yoga.

Brands should provide products that help consumers feel fulfilled and self-assured, and invest in AI and other technologies that can drive personalization. 

The Socialization Paradox

Some consumers are eager to return to pre-pandemic life, others have a more cautious attitude. For example, 76% took health and safety pre-cautious when leaving their homes last year.

Companies must provide flexible solutions, including those that blend remote work and virtual events with in-person engagement.

The analysis is based on a review of Euromonitor’s 2021 coverage in 100 countries. 


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