Certain consumption habits will remain even after Corona

A study by GfK has investigated how the pandemic has changed the consumption habits of the population. The results show that new needs will continue to affect the consumption habits of the Swiss population. However, some phenomena are already slowing down.

Since April 2020, GfK Switzerland has been continuously surveying consumers aged 16 to 74 about their biggest concerns. GfK is currently observing a return of topics that were already highly relevant before the pandemic - climate change and environmental pollution are currently more central again than the pandemic.

However, the issue of a pandemic is still high on the list of major concerns, especially among the over-60s.

Economic consequences of the pandemic

The vast majority of Swiss people aged 30 and over are now somewhat more reassured about the economic consequences of the corona pandemic. They are more optimistic again about their employment situation than in recent months, but around one fifth are still worried that their employment situation will be adversely affected, for example in the form of redundancy. Younger people up to the age of 29 in particular are also still worried about their financial future.

Convenience remains, physical experience becomes more important again

Consumers' lives have not changed much since the first lockdown, but they have changed since before the pandemic. Topics such as "simplification" remain important.

However, the desire for experiences is slowly returning among consumers - leading to dynamics in both directions. In the area of simplification or convenience, it can be seen that around two thirds of the consumers surveyed say that they have shopped online in the last week. A third of all respondents want to use home delivery even more intensively in the future; this seems to manifest ongoing dynamics that will continue to challenge retail and logistics.

Digital on-demand media providers such as Netflix or Spotify also gained strongly from the pandemic and further consolidated their position. Here, too, there is a need for individuality and tailor-made experiences, which has been further accelerated by the pandemic.

"But what's also exciting is the opposite side, the physical experience is also becoming more important again: we're finding that consumers are less likely to say they want to go to brick-and-mortar stores in the future," said Michel Rahm, consumer intelligence expert. "Whereas recently this figure was around a third, now only around one in four consumers say this - respondents want to get out again, want to participate in life again."

Positive signs for the upcoming summer

Consumers are generally relatively confident - or long for a change of scenery and are already planning their holidays for the summer.

Only one in five is currently categorically ruling out a holiday, while around 80 percent either already have something planned or are still considering it. It is noticeable that the distance of the holiday destination is likely to increase again somewhat.

36 percent of respondents stay in Switzerland, but about the same number plan holidays abroad. It is striking that more than half of those travelling abroad are planning to go on holiday by car or train. Only every tenth respondent wants to take a plane within Europe, and only about every twentieth person is enthusiastic about holidays overseas.

Vaccination readiness of respondents

The prerequisites for holidays abroad would be relaxation, such as could be achieved through vaccination. In May, GfK surveyed the Swiss population for the first time on their willingness to be vaccinated. Over 70 percent want to be vaccinated against Corona. Only around 16% of respondents explicitly said that they would not be vaccinated.

More than a quarter of those surveyed have already received one or two injections, and a further third have already made appointments or at least already registered.


For the GfK Consumer Life Trends" study were representative online surveys on consumer behaviour, attitudes and values were conducted before, during and after the first and second (partial) lockdown in German- and French-speaking Switzerland.

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