PwC research on consumer behavior
PwC research on consumer behavior
  Economy  |  International  |  Analysis  |  Retail

PwC research on consumer behavior

PwC study "March 2021 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey" shows the trends associated with consumer behaviors as they emerged from the pandemic.
RE+D magazine

In the post-Covid era.

In particular, the impact of COVID-19 has intensified the trend that wants consumers to be more aware of sustainability issues, with an even greater focus on the impact of their purchasing choices on ESG (environment, society and governance). Despite the impact of COVID-19 on retail, in-store shopping seems to remain the top choice for consumers who shop daily or weekly.

As in many other industries, the retail sector has made a strong turn to meet customer needs. This becomes even more important as according to the study, the pandemic created strong differences between consumer behaviors resulting in the formation of new groups of consumers who may be the harbinger of new attitudes and behaviors.

These groups are divided into four categories with the potential to significantly influence the choices of channels, products and brands for consumers.

1. Consumers who work mainly from home compared to those who work outside of home, prefer a digital and environmentally friendly lifestyle while they are expected to spend higher amounts for all product categories included in the survey. 64% of consumers who work from home prefer to do their shopping online compared to 55% of those who work outside the home. If the work from home continues, this could significantly affect the retail companies as a decrease in the preferences for shopping in a physical store is expected.

2. Younger consumers are more likely to shop online compared to older age groups. 35% of Generation Z and 43% of Millennials consumers are more likely to shop daily or weekly on their mobile phone compared to older people. Also, according to the study, COVID-19 has not affected the consumption habits of younger consumers while an increase is expected in the amounts spent in the coming months compared to older consumers.

3. The frequency of purchases in physical stores by consumers who prioritize health and safety compared to consumers who are less aware of the issue of safety. 23% of survey participants rank "increased health and safety measures" as the first or second most important factor for in-store shopping. These consumers are also willing to buy both higher value and healthier and more environmentally friendly products.

4. Consumers in the Asia-Pacific region focus on sustainability and are less aware of health and safety in their physical presence in stores. 45% of consumers in this area shop more often in-store than Western consumers as health and safety concerns are reduced due to the lifting of restrictions on COVID-19. In the Asia-Pacific region, Africa and the Middle East, consumers are focusing more on ESGs than in other parts of the world. 60% of consumers in the Asia-Pacific region, and 61% of consumers in Africa / Middle East are aware of the market for environmentally friendly products. This is expected to intensify as consumers around the world become more sensitive to environmental and sustainability issues.

While the focus on protecting the planet is often linked to European consumers, research shows that in the aftermath of the pandemic, study participants worldwide are focusing on more sustainable options.

Indicatively, 55% of consumers stated that they make their purchases from companies that are aware of the protection of the planet, while 54% reported that they buy products with ecological packaging. Consumers are also willing to pay more for healthier options, local products and sustainable packaging, whether they shop online or in-store.