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Purchasing patterns shift in reaction to pandemic

Oliver Wright / managing director and head of global consumer goods practice at Accenture

Recent studies conducted by EY and Accenture suggest that shoppers will change the way they buy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first edition of the EY Future Consumer Index questioned almost 1,400 UK adults as part of a wider survey. Its findings suggest that retailers should now look ahead to meet the needs of the consumer of tomorrow with 42 percent of respondents saying that the way they shop will fundamentally change as a result of the pandemic.

The survey found that 26 percent say they will pay more for local products, 25 percent for trusted brands, and 24 percent for ethical products. A further 63 percent say they are more likely to buy from those taking measures to fight the outbreak.

Similarly, research conducted by Accenture suggests that consumers are shifting their buying behaviour in ways that are likely to mean structural change for retailers and brands.

Carried out in April 2020, the Accenture research questioned more than 3,000 people in 15 countries, including the UK, and found that shoppers were prioritising personal hygiene and cleaning products as well as canned and fresh foods, while moving away from buying fashion, beauty and electronic items. Just under half (45 percent) say they are making more sustainable choices, and will continue to do so in the future, while 64 percent said they were focussing more on limiting food waste.

Oliver Wright, managing director and head of Accenture’s global consumer goods practice, said: “The pandemic is likely to produce a more sustainable, healthier era of consumption over the next 10 years, making consumers think more about balancing what they buy and how they spend their time with global issues of sustainability — suggesting a healthier human habitation of the planet.”

26% of shoppers say they will pay more for local products and 63% say they are more likely to buy from those taking measures to fight the outbreak.

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