5 Consumer trends we’re noticing amid COVID-19

April 30, 2020
Cynthia Nakad


The coronavirus pandemic has had an undeniable impact on the daily life of millions worldwide. From discretionary spending to a focus on personal care and entertainment, the global crisis is changing consumer behaviour in ways we couldn’t have imagined a few months ago. The pressure for brands, retailers and marketers to keep up with and cater to these rapidly changing needs is higher than ever before. We surveyed over 2,000 consumers to better understand their behaviours and sentiments amid this pandemic and we’ve identified 5 trends to pay attention to.

As suspected, makeup routines are decreasing

With consumers practicing social distancing and staying indoors for the majority of their time, there seems to be a lesser need for makeup—despite all of those Zoom calls. When asked how their beauty routine has changed since the start of the COVID-19 lockdowns, 39% of respondents said they’re applying makeup less often while 35% said they’re not wearing makeup at all. Consumers seem to be embracing a more minimalist, natural approach to their beauty routine and marketers should take note. With all of the external stresses consumers are currently experiencing, looking polished and pristine isn’t top of mind. This is a prime example of how a brand’s target consumer is constantly evolving. Take time to dive deep into understanding your target consumer’s persona and purchase drivers—they might be completely different in a post-COVID climate.  

But skincare is increasing

While makeup seems to be taking a backseat, skincare has become the star of the show. When asked how their skincare routine had changed since COVID-19, nearly 43% of respondents said they are taking care of their skin more than before. It also appears that consumers are continuing to spend on skincare products as well despite financial uncertainty, with 48% of respondents saying they’ve invested in new skincare products since social distancing began. A boost in the skincare category seems to be on the horizon as more consumers look to spend the extra time at home taking care of themselves with at home spa moments and relaxing DIY facials. Consumers are turning to these self-care rituals as a way to ease the stress of uncertain times, and brands should be there to support their new emphasis on self-care. By infusing their content and product experiences with messages that encourage wellness, pampering, and well-being, brands can develop deeper emotional connection with their audience.

Crafts and DIY projects are a main source of entertainment while indoors

Spending longer periods of time at home also means consumers are turning to crafts and DIY projects as a form of entertainment. When asked how they are spending their free time while social distancing, over 50% of respondents claimed they are working on DIY projects and crafts to pass the time. Marketers have a unique opportunity to reach consumers by creating content that allows them to get creative with their products such as recipes, “do-it-yourself” spa treatments, or any other “how-to” activity. If consumers are looking for more ways to be self-sufficient, brands should consider joining them in their new past-times and equipping them with the tools they need to make the best of it. Video tutorials, instructional guides, tips and inspirations are a great way for brands to connect with consumers and become their new go-to resource.

Even though consumers aren’t going out, they're doing laundry more

The rising anxieties over the spread of COVID-19 seem to be prompting a bigger focus on personal hygiene. From frequent hand-washing to increased number of laundry loads, consumers seem to be doing everything they can to keep themselves and their families clear of the virus. When asked about their laundry routines post-COVID, a whopping 60% of consumers noted they are doing laundry more often than before. Brands should tailor their messaging in a way that makes it clear how their products and services fit consumers’ new focus on hygiene and cleanliness to help put consumers at ease.

Consumers are trading frequent shopping trips for bigger baskets

In our survey, nearly 40% of respondents said they are shopping less than usual since the start of the pandemic. With governments urging people to only leave their homes whenever absolutely necessary, consumers seem to be following the rules with fewer shopping trips but bigger basket sizes. Approximately half of respondents reported that they’ve changed their go-to grocery store, and 67% claim they’re now opting for larger chains like Walmart, Costco, and Target to buy groceries. Rather than making frequent shopping trips and buying just enough groceries to last them a few days, consumers seem to be reverting back to the “one-stop-shop” idea. Brands could look into offering consumers upgraded packaging that fit their current style of shopping such as multi-packs or family sized packs. In addition, with physical contact reduced to a smaller number of distracted in-store shopping trips, digital touch points count more now than ever before. Brands who create seamless digital experiences during this physical divide have a much better chance of catching consumers’ attention and impact their purchases once they actually make it to the store.


It’s clear that the pandemic has changed consumer’s daily life in more ways than one. Whether or not these changes will remain post-pandemic is yet to be determined. In the meantime, brands looking to engage their customers during these uncertain times need to place a larger emphasis on building genuine connections with them. By fostering a sense of support and replacing traditional messaging with one that resonates with their new daily habits, brands can gain a customer loyalty that will outlast the pandemic.


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