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COVID-19 is creating disruptions globally and across industries, thereby impacting consumer behaviour in a big way. The latest report from global advertising technology company, Criteo released its latest report on how consumers are adapting their behaviour in the context of COVID-19. One of the key changes that are already becoming apparent is that close to half of consumers across the globe will purchase more online during and after the pandemic. Among these, over 50% of the GenZ and millennial consumer group have stated that they will purchase the most online. As far as product categories go, groceries, essentials and household items top the list while consumer electronics, apparel, accessories and appliances have seen a decline in terms of purchase intent. Kenneth Pao, Executive Managing Director, APAC, Criteo takes us through the key findings of the report and shares insights on the Indian consumer behaviour.

  1. Take us through some of the key changes in consumer behaviour that you’re seeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The recent coronavirus outbreak has had us all deeply concerned and in a rapidly developing situation such as this, it would be in our best interest to ensure we integrate well with the world in flattening the curve. Each industry, as well as the individual, is suffering alike and, we can see various consumer behaviour modifications. Online buying rules: around the world, no matter what country you’re looking at, the number of shoppers who intend to purchase more online than usual far outweighs the number of those saying they’ll purchase less. India is no exception, with over half (52%) of all consumers saying they’ll purchase more online than usual.  Also, four-fifths of Indian consumers say they’ll be exercising and working from home more, which typically results in sales of certain sporting goods, office furniture and supplies going through the roof.  We will also witness people turning to buy more entertainment and cultural goods like movies, books, music, etc. to break the monotony while they are at home. Naturally, the travel plans have massively seen a decline too.

  1. As far as Indian consumer behaviour is concerned, what are some of the unique observations you have seen?

In India specifically, despite most consumers saying they’ll purchase online more than the usual, there’s also a non-trivial proportion of consumers (36%) saying they will purchase less – significantly higher than elsewhere. COVID-19 is creating disruptions globally and businesses across countries are facing major demand side challenges. India is part of a global supply chain and any disruption in that supply chain will have a ripple off impact on India. However, understanding the behaviour difference from our respondents, we have analysed that 84% of people in India are spending more time WFH compared to other countries like Japan, where the proportion is only 36%. Another example is that in India, the purchase of gaming equipment saw a boom much higher than the other countries.

  1. The report mentions that 52% people opted to shop online during the lockdown. Would you say this number is still rather low, considering people’s movements are now restricted?

The restriction in movement is increasing the online purchases of people. However, the current scenario is preventing manufacturers and retails to sell non-essential goods. Therefore, the data says is that 52% of respondents say they’ll be shopping online more than usual during the lockdown. The survey also suggests that 58% of respondents are spending more on groceries and 49% on household products. 

  1. In terms of sectors, which ones are seeing greater traction and growth currently? And which ones are the most impacted?

Agriculture has always been the backbone of India, and in the given situation, it is one of the essential sectors. With people spending more on groceries, the agricultural sector will continue to flourish. However, people are moving away from spending extra on apparel and accessories. Additionally, the electronics segment is witnessing a decline too, with 56% of respondents preferring not to buy new gadgets in the current atmosphere.


  • 52% will purchase more online
  • 56% choose to not buy new gadgets in the current situation
  • 58% are spending more on groceries; 49% on household products
  • 41% will spend more on cultural goods like movies, books, etc.
  • 84% are spending more time WFH compared with countries like Japan (36%)
  • 4 of 10 shoppers will keep spending stable in categories other than groceries

(*Criteo Report, April 2020)

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Tags : Kenneth Pao COVID-19 Criteo GADGET ELECTRONICS