This COVID-19 crisis has fundamentally changed the world, including the consumers. People now are living differently, and in many ways, thinking differently. Businesses have been tested and consumers are looking at products and brands through a new lens. This virus is rapidly reshaping consumer behavior. Many researches indicate that new consumer habits that were formed now will permanently change what people value, and how, where and when will consumers shop.

According to EY Future Consumer Index: How consumer segments could transition post-COVID-19, in these uncertain times, how long this transition will take – or whether different transitions will emerge – remains to be seen. But tracking change as it occurs will help companies stay relevant and plan for the future.

Cautiously extravagant consumers have a strong belief that we will be in a global recession after the pandemic. However, while they are financially conservative, they expect to increase spending across non-essentials once the crisis is over. But 45% believe that how they shop will have changed permanently, and 38% say the same about what they will buy.

They respond strongly to purposeful brands, with 62% saying they would be more likely to purchase from companies that they feel are doing good for society. And 29% would pay a premium for brands that contribute to the community and 42% for domestically produced goods.

By contrast, “Get to normal” consumers are determined that after the pandemic things for them will be the same as before. A third of them (33%) do not expect the crisis to have changed their lives in any dimension.  Only 29% say it will have changed the way they shop, and only 21% what they buy. Most of them don’t expect to spend any more money than they used to.

What happens beyond COVID-19?

The big question is this: as the economy recovers from the aftermath of the pandemic, which behaviors – if any – will return to what they were like before, which will stabilize for a while, and which will have changed for good? That, we are yet to find out.

What every company or brand needs now is an agile team that can help the company rise above the current challenges.