US market: Consumer behavior after the Pandemic

Apparently, the pandemic has a catastrophic impact on the economy of the USA. In this context, McKinsey published a report on changes in American consumer behaviors with the aim of aiding American firms in surviving through the epidemic.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) disease continues to spread around the world, with almost 8 million cases and 435,700 deaths as of June 15, 2020. In the United States, the number of infections has risen dramatically since the first week of March, and the U.S. now has more confirmed cases and deaths than any other country worldwide. All 50 states have been affected, but New York has the highest number of deaths and has reported more cases than any single country outside of the United States.

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Strikingly, 30 million new unemployment insurance claims have been filed since the outbreak of the pandemic, implying a dramatic reduction in employment and labour force participation. Apparently, the pandemic has a catastrophic impact on the economy of the USA. In this context, McKinsey published a report on changes in American consumer behaviors with the aim of aiding American firms in surviving through the epidemic.

Looking ahead, US consumers expect to change three aspects of their behavior:
1. Shopping behaviors
2. In-person activities
3. Digital and low-touch activities

1.SHOPPING BEHAVIOR
  • While spending is still below pre-COVID-19 levels, intent has started to rebound in some food and discretionary categories

While consumers still expect to reduce their spending across most categories, intent has started to rebound in groceries and discretionary categories.

US market: Consumer behavior after the Pandemic
Image: McKinsey
  • Consumers plan to shop more online for entertainment, household essentials, and some discretionary categories

More Americans expect to shop online, especially for entertainment and household essentials.

US market: Consumer behavior after the Pandemic
Image: McKinsey
  • More people expect to make a portion of their purchases online post-COVID-19 than before

Many consumers have experienced and adopted online shopping habits during the pandemic. And a large percentage of them declare that they will continue to use digital platforms to purchase products after COVID-19.

US market: Consumer behavior after the Pandemic
Image: McKinsey
  • Around one-fifth of consumers have switched brands and retailers during COVI-19, and of those, more than half expect to continue

About a fifth of Americans have switched go-to brands and/or retailers during COVID-19, and nearly a half of them expect to maintain their choice after COVID-19.

US market: Consumer behavior after the Pandemic
Image: McKinsey
2. IN-PERSON ACTIVITIES
  • American expect to continue spending more time cooking, watching movies or shows, and engaging in home improvement

Due to the dramatic impacts of COVID-19, many consumers’ daily habits have been changed. The two new habits which are expected to continue after the epidemic are cooking and carrying out home improvements.

US market: Consumer behavior after the Pandemic
Image: McKinsey
  • Looking beyond COVID-19, consumers expect to reduce in-person activities such as travel, events, and mall shopping

Americans expect to reduce many high-traffic, in-person activities in the future, including international travel, going to mall, and going to concerts or events.

US market: Consumer behavior after the Pandemic
Image: McKinsey
3. DIGITAL AND LOW-TOUCH ACTIVITIES
  • Consumers change to digital and low-touch activities fall into four primary buckets

As consumers have adopted or increased digital and low-touch behaviors due to COVID-19, there is a broad range of intent to continue:
– Works for now: activities necessitated by Covid-19 that are poor substitutes for in-person counterparts and so have lower associated intent to continue
– Accelerated shifts: Satisfactory digital replacements for in-person activities and connectivity, including online fitness, with growing adoption and medium-high intent to continue
– Potentially here to stay: New and familiar forms of entertainment and interaction with medium-high intent to continue.

US market: Consumer behavior after the Pandemic
Image: McKinsey
  • Post-COVID-19 usage intent is higher for wellness and remote connections, but lower for workarounds specific to COVID-19

After the pandemic, wellness app and online communications have a chance to be used more frequently by Americans. On the other hand, activities associated with COVID-19 like watching Tik Tok, playing online games tend to have a decrease in their popularity.

US market: Consumer behavior after the Pandemic
Image: McKinsey

Firms need to have the latest information about the the market as well as the consumers in order to have in time plans to adapt and survive in the uncertain economy. Three aspects of changes in the consumer behaviors that existing businesses should take into account is shopping behaviors, in-person activities and digital activities.

Source: McKinsey

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