by Heather

The Impact of COVID-19 on Consumer Shopping

COVID-19 has disrupted our lives in many ways. We have shifted day-to-day living, foregone activities and travel, navigated distance learning, and found new ways to socially interact. In our ongoing study, we looked closely how greatly consumer shopping patterns and choices have been impacted by COVID-19. Stores have changed their hours, limited the number of people allowed inside at any one time and have experienced unexpected product shortages—leading to dramatic shifts in consumer shopping behaviors. We examine these in a new white paper called What Has COVID-19 Taught Us About Consumer Behavior?

Clean Label Enthusiasts® Community

For the past year, InsightsNow has been gathering data from our proprietary community of trend-setting, forward-thinking shoppers called Clean Label Enthusiasts® (CLE). This has helped us to understand and track changes in shopping routines and other behavioral reactions in response to the outbreak of the virus. We coalesced these community discoveries in our paperThe CLE consumers we study regularly inspect the label of every product to make sure that it is a clean product, and they have distinct points of view about ingredients, claims and brands. Generally, that means that they prefer natural products as opposed to something that uses a lot of chemicals and preservatives and can be considered harmful to the environment or people. 

With a disruption like COVID-19, we asked ourselves whether CLE shoppers might change their behaviors in response to this pandemic? To forecast changes in behavior due to the virus, we realized that we needed to go beyond tracking what these shoppers buy to measure the underlying causes (the whys) in behavioral change.  

Framework to Understand Shopping Motivations and Behavioral Changes

To understand COVID-19’s impact on shopping behavior, we applied a proprietary behavioral framework we call the Emotions Insight Wheel™ (see image ). We divided the behavioral motivators into four categories to help us understand the behaviors of our study participants—and predict the changes that are still to come in response to this and future societal disruptions.

Functional, Social, Sensory and Psychological Motivators 

Functional motivators are best understood as basic human needs such as health and safety, many done out of self-preservation. Social motivators affect relationships with family and peers, and feelings about selfspeaking to the need for human contact and interaction and our beliefs on what will please others or ourselves. Sensory motivators, in relation to COVID-19 and other events, help people cope with the disruption, and impact choices to enhance our comfort, create excitement and to feel better while managing through the fears and frustrationsPsychological motivators help people to achieve balance in their lives and are closely tied to mood. To learn more about the Emotions Insight Wheel™, reach out to us.