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90% of consumers believe COVID-19 behaviour changes are here for the long haul

Shopper habits have shifted globally (Image: Adobe Stock)

Shopper habits have shifted globally (Image: Adobe Stock)

New research conducted by digital agency Organic reveals how COVID-19 has driven significant behaviour and attitudinal changes, with 84% of UK and US consumers believing their behaviours have changed as a result of the pandemic, impacting both their personal and professional lives.  

Organic’s research surveyed 1,000 consumers (across the UK + US) to explore the why behind these behaviour shifts, how the great pause led to the great shift in consumer attitudes and their everyday lives and what this means for the business landscape.  

As the nation moves into tiered and partial lockdowns, changes in behaviour are becoming more entrenched and longer lasting, with more than half of respondents (55%) believing this change is either for a long time or permanent. This includes attitudes to where and how people socialise shifting dramatically, with 91% changing and 44% completely changed in their approach. 

The research demonstrates how the pandemic has altered consumer behaviour across various sectors and certain demographics more than others. For example, it shows that the pandemic has impacted women more significantly (79%) and has a longer lasting impact than amongst men.  

Almost three quarters (73%) of consumers say their personal priorities have changed. This is big news for brands, who need to adapt quickly in how they are conversing with their customers in this new world. Especially as how and where people shop (as more people switch to online) has changed the most, with more 91% adapting their behaviours and priorities in this space. 

Making sure to take into consideration these new priorities for consumers is key, as being ignored is now a real risk for brands.  

Furthermore, the research found that 30-44-year old’s in particular have experienced a greater shift in priorities, attitudes and behaviours than those over 60, as they’ve adjusted to life in the pandemic.   

These findings clearly show that the consumer changes have implications across every decision a brand makes in the current environment. So, they need to react quickly in response to these new behaviours in order to continue to engage their target audience.  

But there is good news for brands who seek to embrace the call to action. The specific conditions that exist right now mean organisations are far more open to change, and the cost of change will be far less.  

The report also finds that personal priorities pushed to the top, with 73% think their personal priorities changed in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  However, more than half (55%) of respondents believe change is permanent or will last a very long time.   Looking to the long term, only 8% believe this change is short term.  

James Moffat, Executive Chairman of Organic explains: “Change is constant – it’s just that most of the time it happens so slowly or in such small ways, that we don’t always notice. In under a year we have seen a shift in consumer behaviours and attitudes, equivalent to what we would expect over a decade in pre-COVID times.  That’s why the research we’ve launched helps tell the story of the effect COVID-19 has had on our day-to-day lives. Otherwise known as The Great Shift. Our whitepaper offers a strategic framework for brands to use not only in response to COVID-19, but also in the future in order to remain customer centric and digitally relevant in an increasingly transformed world. Our message to brands is clear – shift, or off the pot! Your customer has shifted, and they won’t wait around for you.” 

Ben Scoggins, Managing Director adds: “We’re living in a time where, unusually, most organisations and individuals are genuinely open to change. The challenge is to make that change positive – not only in terms of the bottom line but also in terms of wider society and the environment.” 

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