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Changing trends in consumer behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic

There has been a radical change in consumer behaviour during the Covid-19 pandemic. This was caused due to economic uncertainty, increase in unemployment and self-isolation among other factors, which have all had a profound impact on the way we live.

The pandemic is changing many aspects in the life of an individual. Adoption of digital services took place at a blistering rate, aided by self-isolation, closing of physical stores & a general fear of venturing into public spaces. However, on the negative side, there was a drastic decline in GDP, decrease in discretionary spending and signs of an economic recession.

In light of the above events, we have tried to take a look at the actual change in consumer behaviour and our summary is as follows:

Travel & Mobility

  • 80% reduction in international travel

  • Growing demand of domestic tourism - fuelled by long durations of home isolation

  • 86% of operators generated lesser than $25Ok - small business could be hit the hardest

  • Average decline in bookings for FY’21 is around 52% (source: Arrival)

  • One in four operators at risk of insolvency within the year 2020


  • Focus on Health & Hygiene and growing fitness on demand

  • Surge in e-pharmacy and e-doctors - Online searches for telemedicine has seen a 9X increase. (Source: Mckinsey)

  • Increase in demand for organic & natural products.

Education & Learning

  • Distinctive rise in e-learning due to 1.2 billion children out of classrooms globally.

  • Studies suggest that online learning increases retention of information, changes caused might be here to stay.

  • Overall market for e-education is projected to increase from US$18.66 billion in 2019 to $350 billion in 2025.


  • Exponential growth in online streaming platforms & games.

  • Netflix recorded a growth of 16Mn subscribers, and Disney+ nearly doubled it’s subscribers to ~50Mn in a period of 5 months.

  • Massive 30% surge in gaming apps, compared to the same period last year.

  • This was fuelled by most employers adopting a work-from-home policy, and easy availability of broadband services.


  • Workplaces & Office setups were seen as a necessity to maintain productivity & company culture.

  • Many companies are invested in finding ways to maintain productivity & engagement through online mediums & activities.

  • Zoom reported a 50% surge in daily users.

  • 46% of users who have never worked from home are planning to do so more often.

  • 41% of people reported their productivity has increased at home.

  • 80% of people questioned reports claiming working from home was more fun. (Source : McKinsey)

Buying habits

  • Retail Businesses around the globe were hit the hardest.

  • Private consumption in India fell by 27% - being the key driver behind the economic contraction

  • 46% growth in Online spends.

  • e-commerce is projected to account for 33% of all retail sales by 2024, up from 14% in 2019


Source: Statista

Source: Statista

Source: UNESCO

Source: Accenture Covid-19 Consumer Research

Source: Accenture Covid-19 Consumer Research

Source: Oxford Economics

About the Author(s)

Nitanshu Upadhyay is the Vice President - Revenue Generation at Exto Project Solutions,

Sachin Shantharaju is the Vice President - Sales at Exto Project Solutions

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