The impact of COVID-19 consumption behaviors on Gen Z consumption

A report has been published by the Boston Consulting Group that sheds the light on how Gen Z consumers are responding to COVID-19, relating it to future digital behaviors.

This includes responses of more than 9500 consumers above 16 years old in the US, UK, Canada, and France and looks at behaviors that have increased amidst lockdowns and are expected to remain somewhat based on BCG’s predictions.

The report notes that Gen Z consumers have been largely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic the most in terms of behavioral shifts. Gen Z and Millennial consumers seem to have changed their behaviors and spending more than older generations. Unsurprisingly though, they are expected to remain on the newly developed patterns due to their receptibility, far off the disruptions caused by COVID-19.

E-commerce has grown more in the last eight weeks than the decade before that. Younger users, who have grown up with digital shopping options are willing to adapt to the ‘new’ normal, which is likely to intensify the shift away from physical shopping according to BCG’s predictions.

Gen Z and Millennials are influencing the shift to e-Commerce since the pandemic began. According to a survey, 33% of these consumers have increased their online spending with a net increase of 6%, whereas, 23% of older generation’s consumers, with a net increase of 1%, have increased their online spending. Due to the shifting of existing products, services, and retailers to online platforms, and the increase in digital-only or digital-first marketing is causing the acceleration of eCommerce.

This is expected because people can’t visit stores so they’re shopping online more. But whether these trends will hold after the lockdowns is what BCG is estimating with its own ‘New Normal Predictors’ approach.

According to this, Gen Z and Millennials will partially sustain the increase in the time they are spending on digital media, including video streaming and gaming. BCG also predicts that Gen Z shopping will be affected in several important areas.

It is expected that a net 10% of consumers will increase their spending on packaged food and drinks, 12% on household products, and 6% on personal care and health products as compared with their spending before the outbreak. Consumers also expect to balance these increases by reducing their spending on products like alcohol (8% reduction) and by delaying purchases of expensive items like vehicles and electronics (20% reduction).

Such trends combined with the growth of e-Commerce call for important planning for the future. It is also expected that online markets will win with Gen Z and Millennials in the ‘new normal’, with an increase of 16%, with physical markets expected to lose the most to their online counterparts.

It’s logical to assume that the lockdowns are going to cause a consumer shift just because people will realize how convenient, and money-saving online shopping is which, within a few months, will become a habit for many.

Despite your disagreements, it’s still worth considering how the future stages of consumption will impact your approach. Some trends may hold and this can have a major impact on your planning.

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