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The great consumer reset

COVID-19 and the consumer products and retail consumer

The way we shop will never be the same

Once the last wave of this pandemic finally recedes, a new world will emerge. Yet many of the habits we form now, under duress, such as heightened concern for personal safety, are here to stay. That’s why the Capgemini Research Institute is releasing a series of research notes with pragmatic guidance on how organizations can take action on the things that matter in the wake of COVID-19.

Six months ago, in the eye of the pandemic storm, we conducted an expansive consumer survey which showed that our traditional shopping behavior has been completely disrupted. As a result, consumer interest in online channels skyrocketed, with important consequences for consumer product and retail companies. Since the pandemic shows no signs of abating, we wanted to understand whether this insatiability for online shopping and convenience and focus on safety persists today. To these ends, in The great consumer reset: COVID-19 and the consumer products and retail consumer, we repeated our research, surveying over 11,000 consumers around the world at the end of October and beginning of November 2020.

We found that online shopping has, in fact, continued to explode since April 2020. If 30% of consumers preferred to shop via online channels before the pandemic, and 37% in April, 46% do so now. When they do visit physical stores, consumers expect heightened safety precautions and added convenience, a demand that retailers are meeting with the help of technology. Moreover, this interest in personal safety is translating into increased interest in health and wellness categories as well as to purpose and sustainability. The shifts in the way people consume, think about consumption, and make purchase decisions have persisted since our initial survey in April and will outlast this pandemic. CPR organizations would do well to acknowledge these shifts and use that awareness of them to build their customer experience and growth strategies.

As we navigate this unprecedented crisis together, we hope that these research notes offer compelling insight into the new normal in a post-COVID world. In the next edition, we will look at how automotive consumer preferences have shifted in the past six months during the pandemic and how the sector can respond to boost resilience and recovery. Until then, be well and focus on what matters to you.

For more information, download the report.