Four fault lines show a fracturing among global consumers

PwC’s March 2021 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey

One year after COVID-19 partially shut down many of the world’s economies, consumers have developed new habits that we think will continue even after the pandemic passes.  

Our March 2021 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey finds that many consumer behaviour trends have accelerated during the pandemic, and four essential fault lines have emerged that split global consumers into distinct cohorts. These patterns in how consumers shop, travel, work, engage with brands and live their lives could have long-lasting implications for consumer market industries. Companies can be more prepared for the future by understanding these emerging cohorts and what their behaviours portend.

Explore the data from the Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey

Filter the data by region and compare it to the global average or any other region

Explore the data behind our survey and customise your view by country and region
Questions and Answers Global Australia Brazil Canada China Egypt France Germany Hong Kong Indonesia Japan South Korea Malaysia Mexico Netherlands Philippines Russia Saudi Arabia Singapore South Africa Spain Thailand United Arab Emirates United States Vietnam
Channel choice In the past 12 months, how often have you bought products (e.g., clothes, books, electronics) using the following shopping channels?

Data shown:

  • Respondents answering 'weekly' or 'daily' (Figures represent proportion of those who use said shopping channel.)

In physical stores 42% 56% 25% 43% 50% 41% 42% 37% 62% 36% 41% 37% 40% 37% 38% 42% 41% 56% 46% 37% 36% 38% 43% 50% 63%
Online via PC 30% 34% 31% 25% 41% 33% 29% 22% 29% 26% 13% 43% 30% 26% 29% 30% 25% 44% 36% 20% 28% 24% 30% 39% 44%
Online via tablet 33% 37% 30% 28% 40% 38% 36% 31% 36% 32% 22% 46% 30% 23% 33% 30% 25% 39% 47% 20% 28% 25% 29% 42% 40%
Online via mobile phone or smartphone 39% 46% 34% 34% 58% 42% 34% 31% 44% 44% 19% 56% 42% 30% 37% 36% 28% 42% 48% 27% 36% 37% 43% 49% 55%
Smart home voice assistants, (i.e., hubs e.g., Amazon Echo, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings) 37% 47% 35% 36% 47% 37% 36% 40% 53% 39% 24% 45% 43% 26% 37% 32% 26% 37% 40% 26% 31% 31% 28% 51% 36%
Product category shopping Considering the following product categories, how has the way you shop online/in store changed, if at all, in the past six months?

Answers are:

  • Shopping online the same or more
  • Shopping in-store the same or more
separated by commas in each table cell.

Fashion (clothing and footwear) 79%,51% 83%,56% 76%,41% 81%,46% 95%,48% 74%,57% 79%,55% 85%,58% 79%,60% 65%,33% 69%,68% 86%,54% 75%,37% 76%,42% 82%,52% 70%,43% 71%,53% 89%,44% 80%,45% 67%,57% 84%,49% 72%,49% 77%,48% 83%,43% 79%,52%
Consumer electronics (incl. cameras, TV and computers) 71%,52% 76%,61% 76%,35% 74%,47% 85%,50% 70%,52% 64%,60% 80%,59% 71%,71% 40%,30% 66%,61% 75%,54% 56%,42% 67%,43% 78%,51% 49%,46% 67%,52% 82%,56% 63%,49% 66%,52% 76%,51% 59%,52% 75%,58% 76%,47% 60%,59%
Sports and fitness equipment 58%,46% 62%,56% 56%,33% 58%,43% 77%,51% 58%,45% 54%,52% 58%,50% 61%,49% 38%,31% 51%,54% 65%,51% 47%,37% 57%,41% 56%,43% 47%,36% 57%,45% 76%,52% 55%,35% 51%,47% 70%,51% 55%,43% 60%,51% 58%,42% 60%,45%
Grocery (including general food and beverages) 58%,66% 58%,74% 51%,57% 53%,65% 84%,66% 62%,56% 47%,67% 43%,81% 84%,65% 57%,54% 46%,80% 81%,59% 60%,60% 64%,55% 51%,66% 47%,65% 54%,71% 68%,60% 71%,63% 47%,66% 61%,68% 56%,69% 70%,61% 64%,59% 66%,63%
Health and beauty (cosmetics) 68%,53% 69%,61% 67%,45% 64%,49% 83%,50% 71%,51% 58%,59% 61%,67% 75%,61% 59%,37% 54%,62% 81%,53% 69%,42% 69%,46% 66%,54% 64%,43% 71%,55% 74%,47% 74%,46% 58%,52% 70%,57% 71%,50% 77%,50% 71%,50% 75%,47%
Household appliances (incl. freezers, microwaves, etc.) 61%,54% 64%,65% 65%,41% 53%,50% 74%,56% 66%,55% 56%,59% 70%,61% 69%,64% 36%,38% 53%,64% 66%,57% 47%,47% 62%,47% 72%,53% 38%,48% 60%,51% 70%,52% 55%,46% 59%,56% 59%,56% 48%,55% 58%,53% 63%,46% 61%,55%
Do-it-yourself/home improvement 61%,54% 60%,64% 52%,43% 56%,52% 75%,51% 63%,53% 51%,63% 62%,63% 75%,60% 45%,35% 50%,63% 70%,55% 67%,44% 62%,48% 65%,61% 61%,44% 59%,55% 80%,52% 64%,43% 52%,54% 63%,55% 61%,50% 72%,52% 65%,52% 62%,49%
In store versus onlineIn the current climate, which of the following attributes are important to you when shopping in physical stores? (These attributes were in respondents' top three)
Certification that the store meets (COVID-19) health and safety standards 27% 24% 39% 31% 29% 26% 27% 21% 20% 30% 18% 21% 36% 42% 19% 44% 14% 22% 22% 33% 29% 29% 32% 31% 30%
Opportunity to engage/pay contactless 18% 16% 17% 15% 23% 19% 17% 19% 17% 16% 7% 18% 18% 23% 22% 17% 22% 22% 21% 18% 16% 23% 21% 15% 21%
Availability of local products 23% 30% 25% 23% 10% 20% 27% 30% 25% 31% 18% 18% 22% 25% 18% 23% 18% 27% 25% 31% 25% 19% 26% 23% 23%
Increased health and safety measures (e.g., controlled numbers in physical store, hand sanitation facilities, store cleaning, protective screens) 31% 28% 36% 40% 33% 35% 28% 28% 25% 31% 18% 20% 38% 44% 23% 50% 22% 32% 30% 41% 41% 38% 31% 36% 27%
Innovative store attributes (e.g., fully automated store, magic mirrors, digitally enabled product tags, immersive store design) 12% 13% 6% 7% 22% 18% 10% 10% 19% 15% 8% 12% 11% 16% 12% 10% 12% 21% 15% 9% 14% 13% 13% 14% 16%
Premium services (e.g., alterations/customizations/consultations with an expert) 12% 10% 10% 8% 16% 20% 8% 8% 13% 9% 11% 15% 10% 10% 14% 8% 20% 16% 13% 8% 11% 10% 9% 10% 17%
The enjoyment of the social aspects of going to a store 15% 18% 13% 15% 19% 13% 26% 14% 15% 12% 9% 11% 11% 12% 15% 12% 10% 16% 23% 13% 17% 16% 13% 16% 13%
Exclusive or limited edition offerings, memberships or loyalty programmes in store 17% 17% 22% 13% 20% 22% 15% 12% 18% 16% 23% 28% 12% 24% 14% 7% 21% 23% 13% 16% 16% 20% 15% 13% 13%
Knowledgeable and responsive sales associates 18% 17% 18% 15% 20% 16% 16% 18% 16% 20% 17% 25% 15% 19% 18% 23% 13% 18% 18% 17% 24% 19% 17% 14% 27%
Ability to quickly and conveniently navigate the store to find products I'm interested in 31% 29% 31% 31% 33% 27% 25% 32% 29% 27% 43% 28% 30% 19% 36% 36% 33% 21% 28% 37% 22% 22% 31% 40% 31%
Product range 28% 36% 22% 28% 18% 14% 28% 34% 31% 26% 31% 18% 31% 22% 35% 18% 47% 20% 37% 35% 24% 19% 33% 25% 19%
I still prefer to see and touch the products 33% 34% 22% 37% 28% 28% 33% 35% 43% 27% 52% 35% 29% 18% 29% 36% 43% 20% 43% 29% 34% 37% 26% 29% 31%
I don't feel comfortable going into stores 4% 3% 4% 4% 4% 8% 5% 5% 1% 5% 4% 4% 7% 2% 4% 3% 2% 5% 1% 3% 2% 3% 3% 5% 4%
In store versus onlineIn the current climate, which of the following attributes are important to you when shopping online? (These attributes were in respondents' top three)
Ability to quickly and conveniently navigate the website to find products I'm interested in 36% 39% 35% 36% 38% 29% 26% 41% 43% 32% 43% 32% 35% 35% 38% 43% 38% 30% 36% 37% 35% 26% 29% 36% 37%
In-stock availability of items I want 38% 47% 36% 47% 28% 38% 44% 42% 35% 39% 49% 25% 37% 41% 39% 30% 40% 30% 36% 40% 35% 33% 27% 43% 31%
The ability to see an extended range of stock compared to in physical stores 30% 29% 25% 27% 40% 27% 30% 26% 36% 22% 46% 28% 29% 25% 33% 27% 33% 20% 28% 28% 32% 30% 28% 31% 31%
Easy to use mobile app/interface 28% 31% 27% 26% 25% 26% 24% 24% 29% 29% 19% 18% 35% 23% 19% 52% 29% 31% 40% 35% 22% 44% 33% 29% 34%
Availability of online customer reviews 29% 23% 23% 27% 28% 32% 28% 22% 30% 36% 28% 29% 33% 26% 21% 39% 37% 25% 34% 34% 28% 41% 32% 30% 49%
A good returns policy (e.g., free returns, return items to store when purchased online, etc.) 32% 32% 31% 37% 40% 34% 32% 38% 28% 31% 17% 25% 27% 40% 36% 31% 26% 30% 39% 37% 35% 29% 29% 31% 29%
Fast/reliable delivery (e.g., same day delivery, pick up online purchases in physical stores or designated pick up location, visibility of the product throughout the delivery process, etc.) 42% 46% 49% 42% 43% 29% 44% 41% 33% 43% 27% 41% 41% 51% 35% 44% 43% 36% 46% 48% 50% 43% 40% 43% 44%
Personalized offering 17% 16% 26% 13% 23% 27% 18% 18% 19% 17% 7% 23% 18% 25% 13% 11% 13% 30% 12% 16% 18% 7% 23% 16% 8%
Exclusive or limited edition offerings, memberships or loyalty programmes online 21% 17% 24% 16% 17% 27% 18% 18% 19% 25% 32% 35% 22% 22% 24% 14% 19% 31% 23% 15% 22% 20% 26% 17% 17%
Future spend Thinking about your spending over the next six months, to the best of your ability, please describe your expectations on spend across the following categories.

Answers are:

  • Expect an increase in spend
  • No change
  • Expect a decrease in spend
separated by commas in each table cell.

Travel 20%,35%,45% 21%,45%,34% 27%,31%,42% 12%,39%,49% 27%,33%,39% 32%,39%,29% 15%,47%,38% 14%,40%,46% 14%,23%,64% 30%,33%,37% 12%,38%,50% 19%,31%,50% 15%,17%,68% 19%,30%,50% 14%,40%,46% 21%,25%,54% 16%,38%,46% 32%,34%,35% 17%,21%,63% 27%,31%,42% 14%,35%,51% 25%,34%,41% 30%,25%,45% 22%,39%,39% 33%,33%,34%
Arts, culture and sporting events 17%,46%,37% 17%,57%,26% 21%,40%,39% 12%,50%,38% 27%,46%,27% 27%,44%,29% 12%,56%,33% 12%,49%,39% 12%,39%,49% 23%,46%,31% 9%,56%,35% 20%,39%,41% 13%,33%,54% 19%,42%,39% 13%,49%,37% 16%,38%,45% 12%,48%,40% 32%,40%,28% 16%,37%,48% 16%,46%,38% 15%,43%,42% 16%,41%,44% 22%,44%,34% 23%,44%,33% 17%,53%,30%
Home entertainment (books, music, movies and video games) 29%,51%,20% 20%,60%,20% 45%,37%,19% 27%,55%,18% 36%,45%,18% 32%,43%,25% 18%,61%,21% 22%,62%,15% 36%,40%,24% 36%,41%,23% 24%,62%,14% 32%,48%,20% 28%,37%,35% 40%,34%,26% 21%,62%,17% 36%,37%,27% 22%,53%,25% 41%,35%,24% 29%,47%,25% 32%,44%,24% 29%,53%,18% 22%,49%,29% 33%,42%,26% 32%,50%,18% 35%,52%,12%
Fashion (clothing and footwear) 26%,50%,23% 23%,54%,23% 33%,42%,25% 18%,56%,26% 45%,40%,15% 45%,38%,16% 15%,61%,24% 19%,64%,17% 22%,43%,35% 33%,44%,23% 12%,66%,22% 29%,46%,25% 21%,39%,40% 32%,39%,29% 20%,61%,19% 25%,39%,37% 23%,59%,18% 36%,43%,21% 26%,42%,33% 36%,40%,23% 25%,51%,23% 25%,40%,35% 32%,45%,23% 26%,49%,25% 41%,40%,19%
Grocery 38%,52%,10% 27%,63%,9% 47%,37%,16% 34%,57%,8% 47%,44%,8% 47%,39%,14% 18%,68%,14% 24%,65%,10% 45%,43%,12% 48%,39%,13% 25%,67%,8% 43%,47%,9% 49%,41%,10% 55%,37%,8% 24%,64%,11% 66%,24%,11% 24%,67%,9% 49%,36%,15% 52%,42%,7% 52%,37%,11% 32%,59%,8% 38%,50%,12% 58%,34%,8% 44%,48%,9% 57%,36%,7%
Consumer electronics 24%,53%,24% 19%,60%,20% 40%,38%,22% 17%,58%,25% 31%,48%,21% 39%,39%,22% 13%,61%,26% 18%,64%,18% 28%,42%,29% 31%,42%,27% 12%,72%,15% 20%,50%,30% 22%,46%,32% 29%,39%,32% 20%,69%,11% 37%,34%,29% 19%,52%,28% 36%,40%,23% 24%,51%,26% 26%,46%,28% 23%,53%,24% 23%,49%,28% 31%,41%,28% 28%,50%,22% 29%,53%,18%
Takeaway food 33%,45%,22% 22%,56%,21% 32%,39%,30% 31%,49%,20% 37%,34%,28% 40%,35%,24% 15%,63%,22% 24%,57%,19% 51%,34%,15% 42%,41%,17% 29%,59%,13% 41%,40%,19% 50%,32%,18% 48%,34%,18% 26%,52%,21% 50%,31%,19% 24%,49%,28% 36%,44%,19% 53%,29%,19% 31%,35%,34% 31%,50%,19% 47%,32%,21% 47%,40%,13% 35%,45%,19% 37%,46%,17%
Eating in restaurants and bars 20%,38%,42% 27%,47%,26% 24%,32%,43% 15%,38%,47% 25%,39%,36% 36%,35%,29% 17%,48%,35% 16%,44%,41% 20%,35%,45% 24%,37%,39% 10%,49%,41% 18%,39%,44% 14%,27%,60% 14%,34%,51% 15%,40%,46% 24%,18%,58% 15%,37%,48% 34%,33%,34% 30%,30%,41% 23%,34%,43% 17%,38%,45% 14%,39%,57% 31%,38%,31% 25%,35%,39% 22%,39%,39%
Sports and fitness equipment 19%,53%,28% 18%,61%,21% 25%,48%,27% 13%,62%,24% 24%,53%,23% 26%,46%,29% 10%,65%,25% 14%,62%,25% 19%,53%,28% 22%,46%,32% 9%,64%,27% 22%,44%,33% 17%,37%,45% 18%,44%,39% 14%,60%,26% 21%,41%,38% 15%,51%,34% 33%,46%,21% 22%,44%,35% 23%,48%,30% 19%,56%,25% 19%,45%,36% 28%,44%,28% 24%,51%,24% 22%,52%,26%
Health and beauty (cosmetics) 25%,57%,18% 20%,61%,18% 39%,42%,19% 16%,63%,21% 37%,44%,19% 40%,42%,18% 13%,67%,20% 16%,70%,14% 20%,54%,26% 38%,42%,20% 11%,74%,16% 27%,50%,22% 34%,44%,22% 27%,54%,19% 13%,73%,14% 35%,43%,22% 19%,67%,14% 37%,46%,17% 26%,53%,22% 29%,52%,19% 20%,60%,20% 30%,46%,24% 30%,50%,20% 30%,53%,18% 49%,41%,10%
Do-it-yourself/home improvement 23%,54%,22% 23%,63%,14% 22%,50%,28% 21%,61%,17% 22%,52%,26% 37%,44%,19% 18%,57%,26% 16%,65%,19% 17%,57%,26% 22%,50%,27% 12%,71%,17% 23%,48%,29% 34%,44%,21% 25%,46%,29% 20%,63%,17% 41%,40%,19% 18%,53%,28% 31%,45%,23% 27%,53%,20% 29%,47%,24% 23%,54%,24% 23%,47%,30% 34%,44%,22% 34%,49%,18% 21%,59%,20%
Consumer mobility In the next six months how likely are you to...

Answers are:

  • Likely
  • Neither/nor
  • Not likely
separated by commas in each table cell.

Travel on a domestic flight 33%,19%,49% 35%,24%,42% 39%,11%,51% 18%,17%,66% 47%,20%,33% 50%,14%,36% 26%,20%,54% 18%,16%,66% 23%,23%,55% 50%,22%,27% 21%,23%,57% 31%,26%,44% 36%,20%,44% 35%,14%,51% 15%,18%,67% 38%,22%,40% 27%,25%,48% 68%,14%,18% 25%,15%,61% 39%,17%,44% 26%,16%,59% 47%,22%,31% 48%,19%,32% 36%,14%,50% 77%,11%,12%
Travel on an international flight 26%,17%,57% 26%,16%,59% 26%,13%,61% 17%,12%,71% 27%,23%,50% 49%,14%,37% 27%,19%,54% 22%,17%,61% 27%,18%,55% 38%,20%,42% 10%,15%,76% 24%,21%,55% 27%,17%,56% 25%,14%,61% 22%,18%,60% 30%,19%,51% 20%,15%,66% 58%,18%,24% 30%,16%,54% 23%,13%,64% 20%,15%,64% 28%,21%,51% 58%,17%,26% 32%,13%,55% 48%,24%,28%
Stay in a hotel 36%,21%,43% 41%,23%,36% 44%,11%,45% 24%,21%,55% 47%,21%,32% 48%,18%,34% 36%,24%,40% 24%,21%,55% 26%,25%,49% 50%,19%,31% 28%,25%,47% 33%,30%,38% 39%,22%,39% 37%,16%,47% 25%,24%,51% 33%,23%,44% 20%,22%,58% 63%,17%,20% 36%,23%,41% 33%,19%,48% 30%,20%,50% 54%,22%,24% 49%,23%,28% 40%,17%,43% 71%,14%,15%
Stay in self-catering accommodation (e.g., Airbnb) 32%,22%,46% 34%,22%,44% 40%,11%,49% 19%,18%,63% 40%,26%,34% 40%,23%,37% 33%,26%,42% 21%,24%,55% 22%,31%,47% 45%,24%,31% 8%,23%,69% 37%,30%,33% 30%,22%,48% 36%,13%,51% 25%,25%,50% 41%,26%,33% 17%,23%,60% 55%,20%,24% 28%,19%,54% 45%,19%,37% 26%,19%,56% 40%,25%,35% 46%,28%,26% 33%,16%,51% 76%,15%,9%
Go to a sporting or mass event (e.g., concerts) 27%,20%,53% 31%,22%,47% 29%,15%,56% 16%,15%,69% 36%,23%,40% 41%,22%,37% 29%,22%,49% 21%,17%,61% 25%,24%,51% 40%,25%,35% 15%,22%,62% 25%,26%,49% 27%,17%,56% 23%,14%,64% 17%,19%,64% 30%,18%,52% 23%,25%,52% 53%,19%,27% 23%,18%,59% 27%,15%,58% 20%,17%,64% 33%,22%,45% 38%,23%,39% 33%,14%,54% 59%,21%,20%
Go back into my place of work 67%,19%,14% 65%,19%,15% 67%,15%,18% 53%,20%,27% 74%,16%,10% 79%,8%,13% 67%,22%,11% 60%,28%,13% 67%,23%,11% 87%,8%,5% 73%,16%,11% 49%,36%,14% 75%,15%,10% 69%,15%,16% 60%,21%,19% 69%,19%,11% 53%,25%,23% 78%,13%,9% 75%,16%,9% 67%,15%,17% 66%,19%,16% 78%,15%,8% 78%,14%,8% 64%,24%,12% 91%,5%,4%
Travel via public transport 47%,19%,33% 48%,21%,30% 47%,13%,40% 29%,15%,55% 71%,15%,14% 61%,16%,23% 37%,23%,40% 36%,24%,40% 71%,22%,8% 57%,23%,20% 53%,24%,23% 32%,33%,35% 44%,21%,35% 56%,11%,33% 31%,23%,46% 56%,18%,25% 57%,21%,22% 56%,19%,25% 76%,14%,11% 41%,12%,47% 47%,17%,35% 61%,18%,21% 50%,21%,29% 34%,13%,53% 73%,14%,13%
Go to a shopping mall 65%,20%,15% 76%,16%,8% 65%,12%,23% 55%,21%,24% 76%,16%,8% 73%,14%,12% 66%,19%,15% 52%,23%,25% 61%,30%,9% 72%,19%,9% 55%,30%,15% 44%,37%,19% 72%,20%,9% 73%,13%,15% 57%27%,16% 69%,16%,15% 68%,21%,11% 74%,17%,9% 79%,14%,8% 81%,10%,9% 64%,17%,19% 79%,15%,6% 69%,21%,9% 50%,19%,31% 88%,6%,6%
Sustainability Please indicate to what extent you agree or disagree with the following statements around shopping sustainability

Answers are:

  • Agree
  • Disagree
separated by commas in each table cell.

When it comes to consuming single-use materials, my concerns over health and safety outweigh my sense of environmental responsibility 51%,15% 45%,18% 67%,9% 42%,20% 61%,13% 71%,9% 46%,18% 40%,18% 53%,15% 64%,8% 37%,15% 39%,20% 61%,11% 61%,13% 32%,25% 75%,6% 42%,15% 68%,8% 58%,13% 53%,17% 45%,16% 67%,9% 64%,7% 54%,13% 66%,16%
I intentionally buy items with eco-friendly packaging or less packaging 54%,14% 51%,17% 57%,12% 46%,18% 74%,5% 68%,9% 49%,16% 55%,12% 56%,7% 80%,4% 38%,17% 42%,19% 63%,7% 63%,10% 38%,22% 80%,2% 37%,23% 72%,8% 55%,11% 56%,15% 50%,17% 74%,6% 58%,11% 50%,18% 86%,2%
I choose products with a traceable and transparent origin 56%,12% 48%,16% 58%,11% 37%,21% 74%,4% 75%,7% 52%,14% 41%,14% 53%,11% 82%,5% 40%,17% 52%,16% 67%,5% 63%,7% 34%,24% 77%,4% 71%,7% 74%,9% 52%,14% 54%,12% 48%,14% 77%,4% 66%,7% 49%,15% 92%,2%
I am including more plant based foods as part of my diet due to sustainability principles 50%,19% 47%,28% 56%,17% 39%,32% 67%,5% 60%,11% 37%,28% 38%,27% 52%,13% 71%,6% 26%,26% 42%,19% 56%,10% 61%,14% 34%,30% 76%,6% 45%,17% 68%,8% 50%,17% 56%,20% 48%,22% 78%,3% 60%,11% 48%,25% 88%,6%
I buy from companies that are conscious and supportive of protecting the environment 55%,11% 52%,13% 63%,7% 49%,11% 72%,3% 72%,7% 46%,15% 47%,11% 51%,7% 79%,4% 29%,21% 43%,14% 69%,4% 71%,6% 35%,21% 80%,2% 42%,16% 65%,10% 57%,5% 62%,6% 51%,15% 77%,1% 66%,9% 54%,11% 83%,6%
I am buying more biodegradable/eco-friendly products 53%,14% 49%,19% 58%,13% 48%,17% 74%,5% 61%,10% 48%,17% 44%,17% 56%,7% 76%,6% 32%,19% 43%,14% 61%,7% 69%,7% 35%,26% 77%,3% 40%,20% 67%,10% 58%,11% 53%,13% 45%,17% 79%,2% 66%,7% 51%,16% 87%,3%

Four fault lines of consumer behaviour

Although consumers are globally aligned in some ways, we’ve uncovered four areas in which bifurcation are emerging that could herald long-term patterns in attitudes and behaviour.

As companies move forward, they should take advantage of new opportunities evident in the data from these cohorts.

The ‘Zoom effect’

At-home workers embrace a more digital, environmentally friendly lifestyle than those working primarily away from home

  • The behaviours of at-home workers versus away-from-home workers clearly differ—they are shopping in different ways than those who work outside the home. 

  • At-home workers expect to increase their spending across all product categories.

  • They are significantly less likely to say they’ve been shopping in physical stores.

  • Habits will likely remain even after pandemic restrictions are lifted. 

  • Consumers who work from home are more likely to prioritise sustainability.

The generation gap

The youth of today are more likely to shop online and be optimistic about future spending than their older counterparts

  • As consumers age, they place greater priority on convenience and health and safety than on price or quality. 

  • Younger generations expect to spend more in the next six months than they’d spent before that across product categories.

  • Millennials are not as brand-loyal as their older counterparts. 

  • Generation Z and Millennial shoppers are more likely to shop daily or weekly using their mobile phone than their older counterparts, a trend that we think is likely to continue.

The ‘conscientious consumer’

COVID-19 has created a cohort of shoppers who’ve changed their behaviour due to heightened health and safety concerns

  • The  ‘conscientious consumer’ cited increased health and safety as one of the top two choices important to them when shopping in-store.

  • COVID-19 certification is a high priority for this group.

  • These consumers are less likely to shop in-store across all product categories.

  • They are willing to pay more for healthier, more local and more environmentally friendly options.

  • Their conscientiousness extends to the environment and society at large.

  • Behaviours for this group are unlikely to change, even after safety concerns brought about by COVID-19 subside.

East–West differences

Consumers in the Asia-Pacific region are sustainability-minded and less likely to be concerned about health and safety in their physical store experience

  • Asian consumers are more enthusiastic about sustainability than their Western counterparts.

  • Consumers in the Asia-Pacific region say they are more apt to shop weekly or more frequently, via all channels, than their Western counterparts.

  • These consumers are the least likely to cite health and safety concerns when asked why they shop online.

Media coverage

  • 22 April 2021: Sustainability sells (BFM)
    In conjunction with World Earth Day, Jasmin Peters, Experience Consulting Lead, PwC Malaysia, shares why Malaysian consumers prioritise sustainable shopping, one year after the pandemic started, based on PwC's Global Consumer Insights pulse survey (March 2021 edition). 
  • 28 August 2020: What Covid has taught us (BFM)
    Jasmin Peters reflects on price sensitivity, the rise of cashless payment methods and other trends emerging from the pandemic, based on PwC's Global Consumer Insights survey 2020

Contact us

Michael Graham

Michael Graham

Chief Digital Officer, PwC Malaysia

Tel: +60 (3) 2173 0234

Jasmin Peters

Jasmin Peters

Director, Experience Consulting Lead, PwC Malaysia

Tel: +60 (12) 393 1054

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