At the beginning of the year who would have thought we’d experience so many changes to the way we live? Covid-19 has altered our lives in numerous ways from where we work to how we communicate, with some of the starkest changes being seen in consumer spending habits. A recently released survey by McKinsey & Company shows how our new way of living has transformed how we pay for things and what we buy – creating new trends and accelerating changes to existing ones.
There have been winners and losers when it comes to consumer spending. As you might have guessed after seeing long queues and empty shelves at your local grocery store, food essentials are one of the winners. Spending on basics experienced a big boost during the first lockdown. Although people aren’t stockpiling like they did early in the pandemic, this increase in spending on groceries could persist because people have embraced their new routine of cooking at home and despite being eager to dine indoors at restaurants, many people still feel that it is somewhat unsafe.
Covid-19 and the lockdown have also encouraged new spending habits that enable people to stay at home or avoid unnecessary contact. Grocery and restaurant delivery, self-checkout machines, and click and collect all saw a surge in use. People also dared to try new shops and brands with two-thirds of consumers stepping out of their shopping comfort zone. This change was mostly driven by convenience, safety, and value – people want to shop close to home, in less crowded stores, and get a good price at the same time.
Concerns about safety have also contributed to a drop off in spending on travel. Air travel has taken the biggest hit with 63% of those surveyed saying they were worried about traveling by plane. It’s not just the airlines that people are worried about, though. The safety of ride-share services and public transport also concern people. And consumers aren’t only focused on their own health and safety, they are also paying more attention to whether businesses are providing their employees with a safe working environment.
With feelings of uneasiness swirling around transport, it’s no wonder that we see growth in home-based activities like online streaming, internet games, video chats, and social media. These forms of entertainment became less popular as the first lockdown eased, but one thing that has seen more stable growth in popularity is online shopping. Although many of us were making ample use of online shopping before the lockdown, this way of spending has unsurprisingly seen an uptick and many people, across all generations, intend to use online shopping more during the upcoming holiday season.
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