We are in the middle on an international crisis. No one knows when it is over and no one knows the excact consequenses. If we want to increase our chances for success after this crisis, we have to predict how the post Covid-19 consumer will behave. So let´s give it a try.
Are all post-crisis behaviour the same?
If we want to understand consumer behaviour during and after a crisis, it is tempting to look at data from times with war or a situation like 9/11. But every crisis is very complex. How it affects humans (and human behaviour) depends on the charicteristics of the crisis and most of all -the time we live in. After 9/11 consumption was increased, but this was another time (and almost another world). We had no dialogue about climate change, no Greta Thunberg and no negative approach towards fast fashion. The post Covid-19 consumer will not be like the post 9/11 consumer.
Pattern of Covid-19
If we want to understand how Covid-19 will affect consumer behaviour of tomorrow, we have to take a look at the crisis and the precautions. We have to stay home, keep a distance towards other people and be aware of our own health. And most importantly; no one is safe -no matter age, gender, social status, income or geographic location. This crisis is also telling a story about how the world started to bloom after the lockdown. The sky cleared up, the water of Venice became transparent and the air felt more fresh. All in all a kind of crisis we have never experienced before in a time where many people have been frustrated about the pace, the climate change and the materialistic values.
Changes in consumer behaviour
So how will the consumer change after Covid-19 has passed by? It would be natural if people went out to meet friends at a cafe, went out for shopping or wanted to dance at a club, but the precations we have been told and have integrated in our lives will still affect us -and we will most probably also get information about not to rush out. This means, that we will experience a slow start. It will not go from a-z from one day to another. People will still try to keep a distance and stay home if they don´t feel well. We will also experience a bigger focus on hygiene. It will become normal to have sanitizers in shops and restaurants and we will see an increase in online shopping as well. Our desire to travel will still be there, but it will be satisfied through a more local way of traveling. Experiencing the cities around you and the contries next to you.
In a crisis like this we learn a lot. We appriciate what we normally take for granted (nurses, hospitals, teachers, friends and family). We become more aware of the presence and some might think about values and different ways of living. Slowly we will move into a new time. A time where new values will evolve, we will experiment more with different ways of living and some people will choose to move away from the big cities to have a bigger distance between the people you meet -and thereby lower the chance of getting sick.
New skills will become relevant
If you live in a big city, you can order a pizza any time you want, you can go to the gym in the middle of the night and you can get a new wardrobe delivered to your adresse. Everything is easy and accessible. In a time with Covid-19 everything becomes difficult. Maybe you are not alowed to go out. Maybe you don´t have all the opportunities you once had. And if we keep experiencing times with pandemics, we might as well prepare ourselves to survive -with nothing. More kids will be sent to out to become scoust, we will read more about basic survival skills and tv-shows about “how to survive in nature” will become more popular.
Beginning of a better world?
There are no doubt that this crisis will have a very negative effect on our economy, but when that is said -the crisis will also open our eyes and be the beginning of a new (and better) world. The brands and companies that survive after Covid-19 will be the big players (who are able to continue as if nothing had happened -very few are capable of this) and the small players who understand how to adapt to new values, new needs and a new level of relevance.
The consumer is not dead! But maybe we will experience a new and more aware consumer!