By Nathalie Voit
A number of lasting consumer trends emerged due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to research from McKinsey & Company, the global health crisis led to four major changes in consumer behavior.
The end of the pandemic saw a surge in so-called “revenge spending.” After months of unending lockdowns and working from home, consumers were eager to shell out their wallets for experiences that were out-of-bounds during the pandemic, including going out to concerts, eating out, and watching spectator sports.
“Revenge spending” on out-of-home activities came on top of overspending on discretionary items like home furnishings during the pandemic.
Overall, McKinsey said consumer spending grew 11% year-over-year from March through September 2021. Millennials exhibited the greatest increase in spending due to the coronavirus crisis.
The pandemic also ushered in a wave of online spending. According to credit and debit card data collected by McKinsey, e-retail sales surged nearly 20% since January 2020. The broad-based switch to e-commerce turned once traditionally tactile activities like grocery shopping into permanent digital habits for many.
As more Americans stayed at home, consumer spending on the homebody economy increased. According to McKinsey & Company, more than one in four U.S. adults (28%) bought major amenities like home gyms and home theaters to make life bearable during the lockdown. Others renovated their personal home office as working-from-home became the new norm.
Another 30% of consumers plan to continue making major home upgrades post-pandemic.
In addition to increased spending on home-related goods, the pandemic shattered the concept of traditional brand loyalty. As items were out-of-stock due to supply-chain disruptions and other coronavirus-related woes, consumers were forced to switch over to alternative brands to secure essentials. This prompted 75% of consumers to try out new brands during the pandemic.
Overall, the loyalty shake-up saw 39% of consumers desert trusted brands for new ones, according to data from McKinsey.
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