The coronavirus pandemic resulted in a drastic – and perhaps permanent – shift in consumer behavior across sectors. For the consumer goods industry, initial teething problems associated with adjustment to the first lockdowns included challenges at both ends of the spectrum: severe supply chain disruption and intermittent sales rushes during periods of high stockpiling.
The consumer services sector, on the other hand, was faced with the possibility of a precarious downward trajectory at the outset of the outbreak. Personal care services such as haircuts and massages saw a steep decline in demand as their extremely high-touch nature put off wary customers entirely. While these services are now experiencing a comeback, recovery for the sector is projected to be slow as significant investment will be required to adhere to strict hygiene protocols worldwide.
As we enter an economy in slowdown, consumer goods companies can expect to see a continued uptick in the purchase of low-cost, own-brand products, with customers increasingly demanding fair value for money. Stores such as those that sell electronics and appliances will need to move fast on their omnichannel browse-and-order capabilities, while consumer services providers should focus on transferring their expertise and their ability to personalize into a variety of digital formats.