7 ways our shopping behaviours will change post Covid

7 ways our shopping behaviours will change.


We’ve been socially distancing for months now, riding out the coronavirus pandemic from our homes in the suburbs.  We’ve turned to remote working and learning, virtual happy hours with friends and family, online shopping and digital fitness apps just to stay sane. 

Various studies on the internet say it can take anywhere from three weeks to two months to form a new habit. One way or another, many of us will emerge from this crisis with new ways of doing things — especially when it comes to consumption. 

Retailers, in turn, will need to adapt. And fast. Shoppers will be looking for spaces where they feel safe.  We are changing as consumers because of Covid-19, and while the Recession changed our financial habits, the coronavirus crisis will have a far more dramatic effect on a host of behaviours.

The new habits formed during this pandemic in 2020 will go far beyond, just our spending patterns. 

1. Look but don't touch

The coronavirus pandemic is changing how we think about touching things. Studies have found the Covid-19 virus can last up to three days on plastic and stainless steel, and up to 24 hours on cardboard.

It is still unclear how long it can linger on materials like clothing.  As people return to stores, many will be wary of picking up merchandise that has come in contact with others, pushing shopping carts and punching the buttons on credit-card readers. 

Contactless payment will become common place, and cash will not be seen as king, but rather a potential killer and spreader of the virus.

2: Protect your personal space

Similar to avoiding touching things, we are thinking more about protecting our personal bubbles.  

For weeks on end now, we’ve been asked to keep at minimum six feet away from our neighbours. And those social distancing guidelines will likely be in place for some time into the foreseeable future.  

When consumers venture out, tight and cramped spaces will be avoided. Open-air shopping centres will be preferred over enclosed shopping malls. Capacity will be limited in stores to make sure they do not become overcrowded. 

3: Shop local

The pandemic has instilled in many consumers a greater interest in shopping local. People want to support their favourite coffee shops, pubs or convenience stores — so that they don’t go out of business.  

Many shoppers will still look to shop local, even post Covid-19, because for many we have been conditioned to shop within a 5km radius of our homes, but for most because we have realised just how much we appreciate mom-and-pop shops. 

4: Discretionary spending drops

In March, shoppers turned up in droves at Woolworths and Coles locations across the country, as fears about the virus spread and mandated lockdowns seemed inevitable. 

The pandemic has led many of us to focus on stocking up on groceries and household essentials, while cutting back spending on apparel and other things we don’t immediately need. Meantime, by mid-March, many stores deemed nonessential like fashion and apparel stores started to shut their doors.   

We are also in the midst of the worst employment crisis in our history. As a result, consumers will be looking for bargains for quite some time and will think twice before getting a new pair of shoes. 

5: Everything goes virtual

This pandemic has accelerated the rate of people meeting, learning, exercising and even dating virtually.  And while online shopping was already on the rise prior to Covid-19, retailers are going to need to get creative, as consumers become more comfortable buying things on the internet.  

They’ll need to find better ways to showcase inventory online, and to make sure shoppers know what they have to offer, and how they can conveniently and safely access these products with ease. The consumer experience has just been fast tracked 10 years.

6: No going back

Traditional pathways to the consumer have been challenged during this pandemic, giving rise to innovative and new ways to service the market. 

As we transition out of Covid-19, many if not all of these options will become part of our new retail landscape, as consumer expectations dictate that these options remain and evolve in the marketplace. 

Contactless payments, click and collect and contactless delivery of consumer goods, are just some of the new ways we will be doing business with our regular customers.

7: Don't steal my time!

Call it forced awareness if you like, but this pandemic has given cause for us all to stop and take a breath. 

What we have all become acutely aware of during this time, is that time is the asset that we value the most as humans. Time with friends, time with family, or just time to think - we have all had the time to reflect on what is really important to us. 

As we move out of this pandemic, time will be something that we will not compromise on as consumers. Retailers who recognise this and actively address this in their businesses, will be the ultimate winners out of this pandemic. 

Of everything that has been mentioned in this article, it is this last point that you should be focused on in every aspect of your business.

Thanks for your time :)


Craig Matthews

Founder and MD of Stock Box. Craig's extensive retail experience of 30+ years has seen him manage all sides of the marketplace, from category and brand management in franchise and independent operations, to retail development within the convenience channel. Stock Box Online is the result of Craig's extensive industry knowledge and experience, focusing on helping independent retails and vendors, discover and access more ranging through a multi-vendor marketplace.



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