More than a year into the global COVID-19 pandemic, there’s no doubt it has fundamentally changed the world as we know it. As the virus swept the globe, Americans, too, needed to adapt to a dynamic and rapidly-changing situation.
The crisis has created a ‘new normal’ that comprised of lockdowns, social distancing mandates, mask-wearing requirements, travel bans, and other public-health measures that have massively disrupted typical consumer buying patterns.
These exceptional circumstances have quickly driven people to improvise and adopt new habits that correspond with the new reality forced upon them by the crisis.
Let’s explore three dramatic changes that have taken place in the consumer space because of COVID-19.
Online shopping growth
Almost every industry in the country has been negatively affected by the virus.
However, one sector that has seen major positive changes over the past year is e-commerce.
The reason? Many people have been trying to reduce their potential exposure to possible infection and avoid crowded retail centers. As large parts of the public tended to stay at home to protect their health and tried to avoid nonessential out-of-the-house activities – the demand for a safer alternative has increased.
Many individuals have completely changed the way they purchase goods during this period. The transition from in-person to internet shopping will probably stay with us long after the pandemic has officially ended.
The search for cheaper options
The pandemic is not only a significant health crisis, but also an economic one.
Many consumers, as well as businesses of all sizes, are dealing with financial uncertainty.
Rising unemployment, rapidly shrinking bank accounts, more permanent business closures, and growing concerns about what the future holds are just some of the impacts this disease has on the U.S. economy.
Consumers are becoming more mindful of what they’re buying and how much they are spending. Many Americans are looking for practical ways to help them save money on groceries and other daily essentials such as clothes, electronics, furniture, and other typical household goods.
Some do so by shopping for less expensive products, trying low-cost brands, using coupons more frequently, decreasing impulse buying, or delaying large purchases.
Others use websites like DirtCheapCentral.com or other shopping guides and consumer advice blogs to find the cheapest sources for the products and services they wish to buy.
The increased use of technology
The Coronavirus outbreak has impacted nearly every part of everyday life.
It forced consumers to look for new alternatives to their old habits that will help them navigate through this unprecedented time.
Fearing a possible infection, people found themselves searching for reliable digital solutions that will enable them to work, learn, play, bank, shop, and communicate safely – even under these challenging conditions.
As the magnitude of the ongoing health emergency became clearer, online platforms became a lifeline to the outside world.
The pandemic has accelerated the pre-existing shift towards a more digital world.
Shopping sites and smartphone apps have replaced the traditional methods for ordering products and services and getting things done.
However, it did not end there. The virtual world quickly offered telehealth solutions, online fitness, streaming entertainment content, e-learning, remote work, video-based chats, web conferencing, and much more.
Nobody can tell when will the COVID-19 pandemic end in the U.S. and globally.
However, as the world waits anxiously for some good news in the form of the development and distribution of effective vaccine or treatment options, it’s reasonable to assume that some of the new habits we all developed during this period are here to stay.