Are we creatures of habit? [Charticle]

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Are we creatures of habit? [Charticle]

Consumer behaviour has changed. It would appear as though the sudden outbreak of a pandemic provided a catalyst for consumers to try something new.
creatures of habit


Does this mean consumers will slip back to previous shopping behaviours when the world recovers, or could some new trends be here to stay?


McKinsey’s consumer survey in the last quarter of 2020 indicated many consumers worldwide have tried new shopping behaviours such as online shopping since COVID-19. In SA, 79% of survey respondents have tried new shopping routines and most said they intended to continue.

Screenshot 2021-06-08 at 10.53.20

1Q: “Since the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation started (i.e., in the past ~ 3 months), which of the following have you done?” The chart excludes % of consumers selected “none of these.”


2Q: “Which best describes whether or not you plan to continue with these shopping changes once the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation has subsided?” Possible answers: “will go back to what I did before coronavirus”; “will keep doing both this and what I did before coronavirus”; “will keep doing this and NOT go back to what I did before coronavirus”, Intent to continue includes respondents who selected “will keep doing both this and that I did before coronavirus” and “will keep doing this and NOT go back to what I did before coronavirus.”


Source: McKinsey & Company COVID-19 Consumer Pulse Surveys, conducted globally September 18-30, 2020


McKinsey’s study indicated that, given consumers’ price sensitivity, value remains the primary reason for trying new brands and new places to shop. Convenience and availability are most often cited as the top motivators for consumers’ decisions about where to shop, while quality and purpose (desire to support local businesses, for example) are more important considerations when choosing new brands.

Retailers are likely to be reflecting these short-term shifts (positive or negative) in their revenue lines. It remains to be seen whether consumer behaviour changes really persist through and after a recovery. Are we creatures of habit, or can we truly embrace change?

This article appears in the Q2 February 2021 edition of our StandPoint publication. Click here to download a copy of the full publication. 

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