COVID-19 Impact On Buying Behavior

With the impact of COVID-19 on the world economy, the consumer is making a shift as well in his buying behaviour, Thinking Hats looks deeper at the evolving mindset that is now, our post lockdown reality.

Why was the research conducted?

To understand the impact of COVID-19 on Buying behaviour among consumers for diverse product categories.

How was the research conducted?

Extensive secondary research was conducted to gauge the shift in Buying Behavior across categories, ranging from FMCG to Edtech to Health Insurance to Fitness Apps and many more.

What are the key findings of the research?

• Sale of Hand sanitiser saw a tremendous growth of 1425% through e-commerce websites and 144% through a neighbourhood store
• Face masks and Hand wash saw a growth of 408% and 86% respectively
• There’s a sharp increase in the Indulgence Food category with Cooking oil sales
jumped to 106%, soft drinks 68%, branded pulses 72% and Salty Snacks 84%
• With renewed hygiene drive due to doctor’s recommendation and spreading awareness of pathogens, a jump in personal care and house cleaning categories can also be witnessed with toilet cleaners and antiseptics increased to 77% and 39% respectively
• Interestingly, female contraceptive and condom sales have gone through the roof. Many retailers have seen a surge of nearly 25% to 50% in the last one week. One of the largest porn sites in the world, Pornhub has shared that its worldwide traffic to the site has increased by 11.6%.
• Raw turmeric export to Europe and West Asia have shot up because its medicinal properties are getting renewed attention at the time when the coronavirus is spreading rapidly
• Demands for laptops in India have surged by 40-45% in the last seven days mirroring a trend in the US and other parts of the world
• There’s an increase in the demand for online courses. Toppr is already seeing an increase of 100% enrolment in their live classes. Enquiries at UpGrad have gone up by 50%. BYJU’s one of the leading players in the industry has also saw a growth of 60% in its user base.
• Online fitness apps like cult.fit, FITTR, Sarva have seen a high jump in their app downloads for online workouts. Yoga being their top search when looking for workouts followed by other popular routines like calisthenics, aerobics, Bollywood dance, and others.
• As a follow-up effect, the decision to include COVID-19 in existing policies has led to an increase in inquiries for health policies, which will be positive for the health insurance industry with more people buying policies in the current scenario.

Mr. Rajesh Mishra, Founder Director of Thinking Hats Consumer Insights, with over 20 years’ experience in building brands with insights & strategy, throws light on the current complexity
“Humans respond to crises in different ways. When faced with an uncertain, risky situation over which we have no control, we tend to try whatever we can to feel like we can regain some control.
It is very important to understand the evolving consumer motivations in this context.
Buying behaviour is being driven by 3 motivators - Survival needs, Prevention needs, and FOMO needs.
While essential and food items fulfil the basic need of survival, cleaning and sanitization aim to satisfy aim to satisfy our need to avoid the unpleasurable.

Interestingly, FOMO is being driven by crowd mentality. Seeing other peoples’ buying behaviour leading to empty shelves, it validates their decision to stock up. No one wants to be left behind without any resources.
While some products and services are increasing in sales due to the current situation, other industries are not doing as well. In addition to obvious ones like Automobile, Entertainment, Restaurants, and Aviation, one area projected to have significant losses is the Luxury Goods industry. Which reflects a basic shift of power to the lower, more basic levels of the ladder”.

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