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COVID-19 insights by boobook: Increase in conscious purchasing habits

min. read

Through our COVID-19 series, we are sharing insights on how consumers’ attitudes, behaviours and purchasing habits have been and will change in the near future.

One of the positive consequences emerging from the crisis is that we are shopping more consciously, meaning, we’re looking for sustainable options passing on non-essential items.

Watching the pennies

In the previous article, we talked about consumers' focus on saving. More than half of the 4500 people from nine countries we interviewed are saving the same or more than before. They are saving because the lockdown put a halt on spending on leisure/social activities, but also because consumers are much more cautious with spending money. Interestingly, spending less means buying fewer products instead of cheaper products.

  1. When asked what people will do more in the next 12 months, they mention that they will be careful with what they buy rather than buying cheaper products. This reveals how people would rather buy less instead of a downgrade.
  2. For people who are saving less money during the pandemic, half are planning on buying fewer products over the next 12 months. Only a quarter will be looking for products on promotion or buying cheaper products.
  3. However, this doesn’t apply to the “Financial survivors” who are constrained to look for cheaper alternatives.
  4. Interestingly, those with increased savings, e.g. Comfortable optimists, will also be more careful about their spending in the current months, as 43% are still going to be cautious about what they spend their money on, and a third will spend less on non-essential products.

New priorities, different decisions

Personal health, the health of friends and family, food and medical security, financial security and personal safety are our current top concerns, so our behaviour will likely stay the same when buying food & drinks, household goods & health products.

On the other side of the scale, the hospitality sector will suffer the most, especially holidays abroad. Less than 1 out of 3 people surveyed will keep travelling abroad as before.

Whether your business is offering products that belong in the first category or you are struggling to keep your products/service relevant, it’s crucial to listen to and apply what your customers need right now. As we mentioned in one of the first articles on COVID-19, the brands with strong brand equity who position themselves as valuable and helpful will keep their customers and continue to grow.

Nicole Huyghe, CEO at Boobook, concludes: “The COVID-19 crisis has naturally had a huge impact on many people’s finances and shopping behaviour. Although the challenges many people have faced will have a continued impact post-pandemic, there are many opportunities for retailers and brands to make the best out of an unfortunate situation by ensuring their shops and products are aligned with what people will be looking for in the next few months”.

The conscious consumer of the future?

When it comes to spending, many consumers plan to be far more careful with what they spend money on and how often. This is a typical response, regardless of how they are doing financially; for some that will be spending a lot less as they don’t have the money anymore. For others, it means spending the same, but more wisely.

Even though the crisis has a terrible impact on our lives, economy and society, somehow, there is a silver lining. The change in our mindset towards buying fewer products can make us more mindful of what, and how we’re buying. Hopefully, this positive transformation will remain and keep expanding even after the pandemic is over.


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