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Consumer behaviour may 'fundamentally change' in wake of Covid-19 pandemic



(Stock photo)

(Stock photo)

(Stock photo)

The way in which consumers behave will "fundamentally change" after the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study.

According to the first edition of the EY Future Consumer Index, 42pc of respondents believe the way they shop will fundamentally change as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

When it comes to brands and products, 34pc of consumers indicated they would pay more for local products, 25pc for trusted brands and 23pc for ethical products.

The survey identified four distinct consumer behaviour groups which have emerged during the pandemic.

These are "cut deep", "stay calm, carry on", "save and stockpile" and "hibernate and spend".

Of the consumers surveyed, most are spending the same or less during lockdown, with 27.3pc falling into the "cut deep" section spending less across all expense categories and those representing the "stay calm, carry on" category (26.2pc) continuing to spend as normal.

More consumers (35.1pc) fall into the "save and stockpile" segment than any other, indicating that they feel pessimistic about the future, while consumers that fall into the "hibernate and spend" grouping (11.4pc) are spending more across the board.

The study revealed how consumer behaviour can relate to age groups, family or employment status, and the four behaviour groups demonstrate the differences in spending.

The consumers in the "cut deep" group, who are spending less during lockdown, are mostly older than 45 years old and have seen the biggest impact on their employment status - 78pc of them are shopping less frequently. While primarily aged 18-44, only 40pc of consumers in the "hibernate and spend" said they are shopping less frequently.

And while 42pc said the products they buy have changed significantly, 46pc of them said brands are now more important to them.

The EY Future Consumer Index tracks changing consumer sentiment and behaviours across time horizons and global markets, identifying the new consumer segments that are emerging.

According to the study, the four segments identified could morph into five very different ones as the crisis abates.

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These new consumer segments, detailed in the Index, could emerge post-Covid-19 and be summarised as: "keep cutting" (13.1pc), "stay frugal" (21.7pc), "get to normal" (31.4pc), "cautiously extravagant" (24.7pc) and "back with a bang" (9.1pc).

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