Covid-19 is Creating Urgency in Conscious Consumption, Driving Local Pride and Accelerating the Adoption of Technologies

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A new study completed by Saage Insights finds consumer behavior and values are shifting during the pandemic, impacting purchasing habits

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended consumers’ lives, causing many to overhaul their purchasing behaviors, accelerate their adoption of technologies, reconsider their values, and learn new ways of communicating. As shelter-in-place orders lift, the impact of these habit shifts will continue to influence consumer behavior. Saage Insights spoke with diverse consumers throughout the US in order to uncover how people are living, socializing, eating, drinking, and purchasing in 2020, and anticipate how these new patterns will impact the future.

  • Quickly adopting new digital platforms: from ‘going out’ to see live-streamed shows to weekly zoom hangs with friends, consumers are living their lives online.
  • Seeking convenience: apps and services such as subscription food boxes and meal kits are on the rise. While consumers have reservations about Amazon, citing its bad treatment of workers, they are ordering from the website more than ever.
  • Conscious consumption becoming the norm: they are well informed on everything from supply chain issues to workers’ rights. Many are aware that they can influence social, environmental and political issues through their purchases. Fair wages, zero waste, reduced packaging, organic and local are all terms that resonate with them.
  • Calculated, frugal shoppers: essentials such as groceries are planned with lists, while non-essential goods have fallen off their radar for the most part during the crisis.
  • Strong interest in better-for-me food and beverage: the public health crisis is more fuel for the growing wellness segment. Many mentioned that organic foods are safer and more healthful.

About Shifting Habits: 2020 Snapshot Report
Conducted from May 4-9, 2020, this qualitative study explores shifting consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. This ‘pulse check’ aims to uncover how people are living, socializing, eating, drinking, and purchasing in 2020, and anticipate how these new patterns will impact the future. Saage Insights recruited 18 consumers across the US, split into four demographics: Gen Z (4), Millennial (4), Gen X (6), and Boomer (4). The gender split included 10 women, 7 men, and 1 non-binary individual. Interviewees spanned the following markets: California, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and Georgia. Find out more, including calls to action and opportunities, in the full Shifting Habits: A 2020 Snapshot report, available for purchase.

About Saage Insights
Rooted in research and discovery, our ethnographic approach combines deep exploration and detailed analysis to uncover the most impactful and actionable insights. Operating with the knowledge that the research is only as good as our subjects, we hand recruit participants for custom ethnographies and insider roundtables. Our work is essential for companies that want to know what today’s trends reveal about tomorrow’s consumer. Contact us to find out how we can help.

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Carla Avruch
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