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AlixPartners: Pandemic-altered buying habits to endure among many Americans


Despite rising optimism among consumers, many Americans are sticking with their pandemic buying habits.

More than a third of U.S. consumers said their pandemic-altered buying habits will endure even after the pandemic ends, in a new survey by AlixPartners. And 36% of that group said they planned to keep spending less than they did pre-pandemic. Also, 20% said that while they plan to spend the same amounts, they will switch the product categories and brands on which they spend their money.

In other findings, 26% of Americans are interested in trying new food brands, 24% in trying new retail brands, 27% in new travel & leisure brands and 37% in new restaurant brands. And, reflecting the stark changes in the marketplace, 51% who reported spending less in the preceding three months said they have reevaluated what's "essential" spending.

The survey also revealed that 73% of U.S. consumers in the United States are optimistic about vaccines and about the future, which is up from 67% of U.S. consumers in an earlier AlixPartners poll, which was fielded in the winter of 2021.

Meanwhile, in another example of shifting consumer priorities, 62% of Americans in the all-important 18-to-34 age group said they intend to trade down, trade up or shift their spending to other categories and brands.  The percentage was well above the  the 40% average for Americans of all ages.

As the changes brought on by the pandemic become clearer, it's becoming easier to see which ones are likely to be enduring,” said David Garfield, global leader of the consumer products practice at AlixPartners and leader of the firm's Americas business unit.  “One thing I think is permanent is that we are seeing the rise of 'the intentional consumer'-a consumer that in some cases plans to spend less and, in all cases, plans to be much more deliberate about how and where to spend.”

Garfield added that to reach today’s changed consumer, companies and brands must themselves become more intentional about exactly who they are trying to serve and how to do so profitability.

“Among other things, companies and brands must break down silos and challenge historical models that add needless costs which many consumers will no longer pay for,” he said.

[Read More: Double-digit holiday sales increase is retailers ‘to lose,’ says AlixPartners]

The survey is the third wave of an ongoing, nine-country study by AlixPartners of how the pandemic is changing priorities in sectors ranging from consumer products to retail to restaurants to travel & leisure.





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