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The pandemic has affected all areas of daily life, from where we work to how we shop. This week, we’ll be exploring how to keep up with the changes in consumer behavior over the past year – and how marketers can help CPG and retail companies succeed in the “next normal”.

Read on to discover:


The disruption of the past year has caused rapid shifts which have had a noticeable effect on consumer behavior, changing purchasing patterns for years to come. A new report from McKinsey reveals that we have covered a “decade in days” adoption of digital:

  • eCommerce deliveries saw a 10-year increase in only eight weeks
  • Telemedicine grew 10x in 15 days
  • In two months, Disney Plus achieved what took Netflix seven years
  • In three months, video conferencing participants increased by 20x 
  • In China, 250 million new students switched to online learning in just two weeks

This week, we’ll be exploring everything marketers need to know about consumer behavior during the pandemic – and how retailers and CPG companies should respond if they want to succeed in the “next normal”.


Data deep-dive: Changing consumer behavior during COVID-19

According to the McKinsey report, COVID-19 has affected consumers across eight different spheres:

  1. Work
    1. The rise in remote working was a major trigger to the changes in consumer behavior.
    2. 42% of consumers decided to postpone major purchasing decisions until after the pandemic. 
    3. personal disposable income is not expected to recover to pre-crisis levels until Q2 2024.
  2. Life at home
    1. An increase in time spent on domestic activities.
    2. Off-line channels are being replaced by at-home alternatives creating a surge in online shopping and entertainment usage.
  3. Shopping and consumption
    1. The pandemic triggered a global surge in online shopping.
    2. Consumers have an increase desire for convenience, immediacy and simplicity.
    3. 56% of European consumers were influenced by “environmental concerns” when making a purchase.
  4. Learning and development 
    1. Increase in people pursuing new upskilling opportunities.
    2. In 2020 online learning platforms saw an increase in uptake of up to 3x.
    3. 40% of workers used the pandemic to improve their digital skills.
  5. Communications and information
    1. Consumers have changed the way they use the media mix to consumer information; TV ads had a temporary comeback, billboards went unnoticed and in-person engagement is impossible.
    2. Companies three times more likely to say that at least 80% of their interactions with customers are digital.
  6. Play and entertainment
    1. Consumers are showing a preference for digital entertainment, leading to a landslide shift from cinema to streaming.
  7. Travel and mobility
    1. Global reduction in tourist spend and travel retail.
    2. This year international travel is still down by 80%, but domestic tourism has increased.
  8. Health and wellbeing
    1. Consumers are showing a renewed focus on health and hygiene, including on-demand fitness options, ePharmacies and eDoctors.

What does this mean for your marketing budget?

The past year has offered us a worldwide shake-up in what consumers value. To survive in an increasingly digital world, you need to allocate spending where it’s needed most. An obvious change is to move funding away from out-of-home advertising, print ads, and physical retail spaces. But, there is a more strategic, long-term investment you can make - digital upskilling.

Investing in digital upskilling will help your business to...

  • Analyze physical footprint… through analytics training. Traffic from professionals and tourists has declined, which impacts retail and on-the-go consumption. Make sure you don’t fall behind – our analytic training helps you get to grips with how your customer journey has evolved during the pandemic.
  • Leapfrog towards first-class eCommerce… with dedicated eCommerce training. Your priority is to create a seamless omnichannel experience, and stay relevant across multiple touch-points; you may want to consider hybrid options such as drive-through or click-and-collect. You can learn all about this (and more) through our dedicated eCommerce lessons.
  • Nail consumer loyalty… with first-class customer experience training. You can learn about implementing customer success systems (including feedback and online assistance), how to nurture trust through regular communication (newsletters, social media), and how you can incentivise your clients to engage with your brand (e.g. discounts for first-time shoppers, and referral benefits for existing customers).


Partnering with Circus Street

Circus Street is the only specialist provider of online training in digital marketing skills, specifically designed for global enterprises. We help organizations modernise and amplify business performance through exceptionally engaging online learning. 

Overall, the result is an education solution that gives your team the confidence, understanding and ability to succeed in a technology-driven world. 

“Their programme is exceptional, the content is fantastic, and it really drives greater knowledge and confidence in all aspects of digital”

– Jo Earl, Head of Global Marketing Excellence at Sanofi 

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To find out how Circus Street empowers enterprises, see our testimonials page. Or sign up for a free trial of our lessons to see how we can help you modernize and amplify business performance.

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