Two surveys, published in PwC’s 11th Global Consumer Insights Survey, examine the shopping habits and behavior of urban consumers before and after the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the global breakthrough has led to the faster spread of digital life.
“At present, it is not clear at either global or local level how long the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 will last. Consumer market players need to develop and prepare for several scenarios. There is now a clear advantage for those who have been able to switch to online business overnight. As a result, other market players are under strong pressure: in order to survive, they need to find new sales channels and change their communication strategy so that consumers do not move away from them in the changed circumstances,” according to Anita Mekler, PwC Hungary Tax and partner in the legal advisory business.
The main results of the survey show that consumers' habits regarding shopping, working, eating, communicating and health have changed fundamentally:
• More than a third of consumers (35%) buy food online, and 86% of these consumers believe that they will maintain this habit even after the restrictive provisions have been lifted;
• The outbreak of the pandemic significantly rearranged the preference of urban residents: 49% (27% before) indicated safety and protection, 45% (19% beforehand) health and also 45% (31% before) job opportunities. In terms of quality of life, safety and security and health have become as important to them as access to work as a result of the pandemic;
• 51% of urban consumers agree or fully agree with the statement that due to the COVID-19 epidemic, they pay more attention to their mental health and well-being, physical health and diet.
Respondents in the PwC survey are clearly voting in favor of sustainability and civic duty. 45% of respondents said they avoid using plastics whenever possible, and 43% expect companies to take responsibility for the environmental impact they cause. When asked who they think can best promote sustainable behavior in their city, 32% of consumers answered the state, 20% said 'I, the consumer' and 15% said 'the producer or manufacturer'.
“In addition to some trends intensifying for some time, our survey shows that the pandemic has increased consumer demand for transparency, sustainability and convenience. The biggest benefits will go to companies that gain the trust of consumers, do not regret the investment needed to achieve a smooth and trouble-free shopping experience, and prioritize consumer health and safety,” Anita Mekler added.
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