When the pandemic hit, it hit hard. People around the world were forced to completely alter their daily habits and way of living within a short timeframe. Naturally, these lifestyle changes had an impact on consumer spending during COVID-19. Some people put a lock on their wallets as they witnessed friends, family, and coworkers lose their jobs—or lost their own. Others simply adjusted the channels they spent on, such as moving from in-store to online shopping.
In any case, COVID-19 caused a lot of volatility in consumer psychology. As such, post-pandemic shopping habits look different than those from before the event. We get into a few of these habits below, then follow up with several products consumers have turned their attention to as life settles to a new normal.
5 Post-Pandemic Shopping Trends
1. Consumers have even less interest in brick-and-mortar store visits.
It’s no secret that e-commerce has been on the rise for a number of years. But the pandemic forced those who still shopped primarily in-store to move online. In fact, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index: COVID-19 report, the pandemic boosted e-commerce sales by $183 billion. The same report notes that online sales increased 42% in 2020 compared to the year prior.
As the dust settles from the pandemic and people get vaccinated, people are slowly returning to brick-and-mortar locations. However, consumers aren’t exactly flocking back. They’ve had the taste of convenience that comes with online shopping, and many are sticking to their pandemic-adjusted habits. Thus, the majority of consumer spending post-pandemic will continue to be done online.
2. Consumers are adjusting their spending habits.
As noted above, the pandemic caused many consumers to rethink their position on spending, especially on items they deemed non-essential. With so much uncertainty—regarding both health and finances—these cautious consumers didn’t feel comfortable making purchases that weren’t necessary.
Post-pandemic spending is shaping up to be somewhat similar. Some consumers continue to be cautious as they assess how the world operates after COVID-19, but many more are unlocking their wallets as the feeling of normalcy returns.
3. More consumers are working from home.
The pandemic may have led to record-level unemployment, but there were still many consumers employed. Most of these people were forced to work from home, with many of them (and the companies they worked for) new to a remote style of doing business. Still, they eventually adapted, and now a large number of companies have kept remote work options in place. This means more consumers are at home during work hours instead of being stuck in the office.
4. Consumers are more concerned about self-care and self-improvement.
If there was one thing consumers had more of during the pandemic, it was time. Add to that the seclusion of quarantine, and you have a populace that’s ready to find any way to keep their mind occupied. While some people turned to social media and streaming platforms for entertainment (e.g., Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, etc.), others took a more introspective approach.
The pandemic gave people the opportunity to look inward and contemplate ways to foster self-care and self-improvement. This manifested in purchasing new types of products they might not normally pay attention to and improving their skills, such as signing up for online classes. This trend is continuing.
5. Consumers are looking to travel.
After being stuck at home with limited mobility, many consumers have wanderlust—they want to visit places and spaces far away from the four walls they’ve been forced to stay in for months. The EY Future Consumer Index estimates that 74% of the cautiously extravagant consumer segment—people with middle to high income and an optimistic outlook on the economy—plan to spend more money on vacations and holidays after the pandemic.
7 Post-Pandemic Products To Consider Selling
1. Remote Work Products
With so many consumers working from home, the market for remote work products has grown. Granted, many of these products are technology-focused—for example, software for collaboration, communication, task management, file sharing, and keeping work organized. However, there are physical products that support remote work as well.
For example, many remote workers like to set up home offices, which opens the door for products in that space. An ergonomic and comfortable computer chair is a must-have item. There are also portable laptop desks, computer accessories, and other office items.
2. Self-Care and Self-Improvement Products
Remember that consumers are more into self-care and self-improvement than ever before. For some, self-care is about maintaining or enhancing their appearance. Many of these consumers spent their pandemic time trying out new beauty products—likely because they weren’t going places and didn’t have to worry about someone seeing the result of a bad product. An estimated 57% of shoppers say they had never tried more than a quarter of the beauty products they purchased online in 2020.
3. Pet Supplies
Isolation and seclusion were common during the pandemic, so is it any surprise that people turned to animal companionship to cope? Shelters and rescues around the country were inundated with soon-to-be pet owners as pet adoption rates soared.
What does this trend mean for post-pandemic product needs? Well, there are a lot more pet owners in the market looking for pet supplies—food, leashes, grooming items, toys, and more. If you’re not already in the business of pets, here’s some inspiration. You can create a whole new product of your own if you have a creative design in mind or source already available products. Either way, create your own e-commerce store to give pet owners the products they need.
4. Backyard and Gardening Products
Gardening was another area consumers turned to with all the extra time they had on their hands. Often neglected for months at a time, the backyard became a small getaway for housebound couples and singles alike. As a hobby, gardening was a great way to pass the time and be outside.
Many consumers have maintained this hobby and are looking for products to help them cultivate what they’ve grown and make the backyard a visibly appealing feature of their home. Selling everything from fertilizer to patio furniture is a good bet for consumers in this space.
5. Household Cleaning Products
The pandemic inspired new levels of cleanliness the average consumer never aspired to reach. Throughout the pandemic, Lysol and similar cleaning brands were sold out as soon as they were made available in stores. But early mandates about cleaning surfaces caused a shift that lasted even after those mandates were rescinded—many people continue to maintain high levels of sanitation. This means disinfecting aerosols, hand sanitizers, and the like will remain in high demand post-pandemic.
With people bound to their homes during the pandemic, most consumers donned simple, comfortable clothing such as sweatpants, shorts, workout apparel, and even pajamas day-to-day. There were little to no events to attend, especially early on, meaning there was no need for new outfits. This clothing perspective has shifted as venues open up and events are scheduled. Now consumers are looking to purchase clothing for fashion over function again.
7. Footwear and Accessories
Much like clothing, footwear saw a needs shift with consumers. Instead of buying dress shoes and fedoras, people bought shoes and baseball caps for fitness and comfort. In the same vein, consumers are back to purchasing shoes and jewelry to make fashion statements and express their individuality.
As a current business owner or aspiring entrepreneur, consider the above as you look to expand or start a company. You can offer products and services through your business website that take advantage of these trends and desirable items.