Life in Lockdown: New Buying Habits and Changing Consumer Needs

Friday, June 5, 2020

As the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on buying habits is coming into clearer focus, we looked at how the changing consumer needs might affect businesses like yours. Here are the most important findings in recent studies and what they can mean for you.

A waiter serving a meal

As a nation we’re resilient

  • 8 in 10 consumers say they could handle the current lockdown conditions until July 1

Consumers are getting used to life in lockdown, with the public more concerned with lifting the restrictions too early rather than too late and the majority saying they could continue for another couple of months.

Once restrictions are relaxed, it’s the younger generation who will feel more comfortable to return to normality and their usual buying habits, with YouGov coronavirus trends showing men and younger consumers being far less scared of the virus.

  • Once lockdown is lifted, 58% of 18-24-year olds will feel comfortable visiting restaurants vs 31% of over 50s 1
  • In total, 41% of men will feel comfortable vs 32% of women1

By the time pubs and restaurants reopen, consumers may feel less scared and more comfortable to venture out for a meal, however, changing consumer needs means marketing specifically targeted towards your female and over 50’s customers is likely to be essential to reassure them of the steps you have taken to ensure their safety.


There’s a community spirit reflected in the new buying habits

Community spirit has grown during lockdown, with ONS data showing 8 in 10 adults are of the opinion that people are doing more to help others than before the pandemic began.

  • Over a third of consumers have been making an effort to actively support their local pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés 2

Restaurants who offered their services during the crisis are likely to reap the rewards once they reopen, as business behaviours have not gone unnoticed by consumers.

  • 70% of consumers will be more likely to visit chains who have offered their services during the Covid-19 crisis 2
  • Three quarters of consumers will be more willing to buy from brands who behaved ethically during the outbreak 2

Among the brands adapting to the new consumer spending habits is Budweiser’s Save Pub Life scheme – designed to encourage people to buy a gift card to spend at their local pub at a future date with Budweiser matching purchase amounts up to £1m.

Businesses who haven’t actively communicated with their customers during lockdown should consider re-evaluating. Remaining close to both staff and customers during this time with relevant messaging and up to date content is important to help re-engage once restrictions are lifted.


Consumer spending habits have shifted

With the majority of venues having to close during lockdown, many younger consumers in particular have increased their online shopping and may continue to do so out of ease and habit.

  • Over 50% of 18-24-year olds said they’ve been buying more online than they usually would 1

A survey by Lyvit showed ‘going out for dinner’ in the top 5 activities consumers want to do once lockdown is lifted and despite reports of low consumer confidence, once normality returns, the public will be willing to spend.

  • Around a third of consumers (32%) expect to spend more on having meals out than they did before lockdown 1

The key to encouraging this spend will be understanding your customers and what their needs the changing customer needs after the lockdown is lifted. Trends as a result of COVID-19 could lead to long term behavioural shifts and demands are likely to have changed.

Find out some of the important predictions for consumer behaviour changes in a post-Covid-19 world and how your business might be affected, next.



  1. YouGov research March – May 2020
  2.  CGA BrandTrack April 2020 – Covid-19