Photo via Accenture

COVID-19 Increasing Consumers’ Focus on “Ethical Consumption,” Accenture Survey Finds

Originally posted on Accenture.com

Pandemic accelerating digital adoption and likely to cause long-term changes in consumer behaviors

The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to alter consumer behaviors permanently and cause lasting structural changes to the consumer goods and retail industries, according to findings of an Accenture (NYSE: ACN) survey of more than 3,000 consumers in 15 countries across five continents.

The survey, which was conducted between April 2 and April 6, after many countries had implemented stay-at-home orders, found that consumers have already begun shifting their purchasing priorities. For instance, consumers overall said they were currently buying more personal hygiene and cleaning products, as well as canned and fresh foods than they had been two weeks prior — while purchasing fewer fashion, beauty and consumer electronics items.

More importantly, however, the findings indicate that many of the changes in consumer behavior are likely to continue long after the pandemic. In addition, the crisis is also causing consumers to more seriously consider the health and environmental impacts of their shopping choices. For instance:

  • 60% of respondents are spending more time on self-care and mental well-being, with about six in 10 consumers (57%) saying they have started exercising more at home;
  • 64% of consumers said they’re focusing more on limiting food waste and will likely continue to do so going forward;
  • 50% of consumers said they’re shopping more health-consciously and will likely to continue to do so; and
  • 45% of consumers said they’re making more sustainable choices when shopping and will likely continue to do so.

“The scale of the changes identified in our findings clearly suggest that this is a long-term shift,” said Oliver Wright, managing director and head of Accenture’s global Consumer Goods practice. “While we have been seeing these trends for some time, what’s surprising is the scale and pace — compressing into a matter of weeks changes that would likely have taken years. The new consumer behavior and consumption is expected to outlast the pandemic, stretching far beyond 18 months and possibly for much of the current decade.”

Pandemic is accelerating digital adoption
Not surprisingly, the survey found that the pandemic is causing more people to shop for groceries online. In fact, one in five respondents who said their most-recent grocery purchase was done online were first-time online grocery shoppers — for older consumers, this was one in three. And while 32% of consumers’ current purchases of all products and services have been online, that figure is expected to rise to 37% going forward.

“The realignment of purchasing priorities, personal lifestyles, and working practices is mandating significant changes to retail and commerce,” said Jill Standish, senior managing director and head of Accenture’s global Retail practice. “Groceries were, until recently, one area in which many people were reluctant to shop online, but COVID-19 has quickly changed that. The findings show how people who haven’t been as comfortable with ecommerce and other digital technology have been pushed to overcome their hesitancy — and this shift is huge. As organizations adapt, their watchwords must be trust, relevance and convenience.”

COVID-19 is also accelerating digital adoption more broadly. For instance, the number of consumers who said they’re interested in buying or increasing their use of technology has increased dramatically. More than half of respondents said they are likely to increase their usage of voice-enabled digital assistants, online recommendation apps, self-service apps, intelligent home devices and wearables.

“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,” Wright said. “At the same time, it’s a wake-up call for companies to ensure they have the agility and capability to be relevant to consumers and customers — with a portfolio of products and services that match shifting purchasing patterns — not just today, but post-pandemic as well.”

Latest News

Hershey Employees and Retirees in the US and Canada Pledged More Than $900,000 in 2021 To Support Nonprofit Organizations

Originally published on LinkedIn. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    Each year, our Season of Giving campaign encourages Hershey employees to make a difference by supporting nonprofit organizations which they find to be meaningful. Employees and retirees in…

Creating Windows and Mirrors: Hershey’s Amber Murayi on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the ‘World’s Top Female-Friendly Company’

Amber Murayi is the Hershey Company’s Senior Director of Enterprise Strategy & Business Model Innovation & Co-lead of the Women’s Business Resource Group. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    My position affords me a unique view of DEI…

Author Alice Sebold

Author Alice Sebold Apologizes for Her Role in the Wrongful Conviction of the Black Man Charged With Raping Her

In her acclaimed 1999 memoir Lucky, author Alice Sebold told the story of being raped in 1981 when she was a student at Syracuse University. The case resulted in a Black man named Anthony Broadwater being convicted and sent to prison. Sadly, Broadwater was innocent and wrongfully convicted — and…

Black renters

New Study Reveals Landlords Consistently Discriminate Against Potential Renters With Black or Hispanic ‘Sounding’ Names

In the largest study of its kind ever conducted, researchers with the National Bureau of Economic Research have uncovered what many people of color already know when hunting for an apartment or home: most landlords consistently discriminate or harbor bias against non-white individuals looking to rent their property.  Bloomberg’s Kelsey…

book banning

American Library Association Documents 155 Attempts at Banning Books About POC or LGBTQ Issues in the Last 6 Months

In a depressing turn for anyone who thought society may have outgrown book burning or censorship of books over the last 100 years, it appears the hate-filled phenomenon is back on the rise, increasing with alarming frequency across the country. CNN’s Nicole Chavez has reported the American Library Association “has…