Gfk study: Consumers are confident despite the consequences of the pandemic

Compared to May, the Swiss are less fearful of the future and their consumer behavior is becoming more responsible and quality-conscious. This is according to a recent study by the market research institute GfK Switzerland.


Since April 2020, GfK Switzerland has been continuously surveying consumers, aged 16 to 74, about their biggest concerns, including now in September. According to GfK studies, many of the effects on consumer behavior triggered by the pandemic are attributable to changes in consumers' needs, expectations and hopes. These include, for example, the importance of being "at home" and more conscious and responsible consumption.

One-third of the Swiss surveyed are currently rather worried or very worried about their own economic future. However, this is significantly fewer than in May, when the figure was still 44 percent. The vast majority of Swiss people are quite optimistic about their job situation, but around one-fifth are still worried that their own job situation could be negatively affected (e.g. in the form of redundancy). The under-30s and the French-speaking Swiss in particular are more worried in this regard. However, the majority of Swiss are fairly confident that their economic situation will be better in 12 months than it is today.

Return to normality in everyday life and at work

Many consumers continue to be very cautious, avoiding air travel, for example, but also restaurant visits or fitness centers to some extent. Working from home continues to be an issue. According to GfK surveys, just under 35 percent of professionals with a basic home office option said they currently work exclusively or mainly from home. 26 percent expect to work mostly or even only from their home office even after the pandemic has subsided. However, only 3 percent of the professionals surveyed expect to work exclusively from home. The majority, i.e. over 80 percent of professionals, are satisfied with their current work situation, regardless of whether they work exclusively or predominantly in a home office or in an office.

Change in lunch catering

Current GfK studies show that the shift to the home office has led to a change in eating habits at the lunch table. Two-thirds (66 percent) of working people eat a freshly prepared, home-cooked lunch at home at least once a week. 16 percent even eat it every day during the work week. However, people often simply have reheated food, leftovers or a cold lunch such as salad or sandwiches at home. Delivery services or take-away are rarely used for lunch at home. At the place of work, the most common lunch consumed is food brought from home, with takeaways being eaten only occasionally.18 percent of employees eat in a canteen at least once a week, 31 percent in a restaurant at least once a week.

Responsible consumption behavior 

Sustainable health awareness is not only reflected in changes in eating habits, but also in consumption. Anja Reimer, an expert in consumer intelligence, observes: "It's also exciting that more than half of the Swiss want to buy more from smaller suppliers and local producers in the future. So responsible shopping is a topic of great importance." Even ahead of the upcoming Black Friday sales promotion, just under 20 percent of Swiss respondents say they will deliberately not take advantage of Black Friday offers. Again, this shows an effort to consume responsibly, mainly among older consumers as well. 33 percent of respondents say they prefer to own fewer but higher-quality items, especially clothing and technology.

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