The COVID-19 pandemic has changed consumers’ behavior and consumption patterns, with more people isolating themselves at home to avoid contracting and spreading the virus.

A recent study conducted by EY Future Consumer Index surveyed 2,263 consumers from Saudi Arabia and the UAE during May 2020 to gain insights on MENA consumers’ preferences after COVID-19.

According to the study, the five consumer segments that will emerge after the COVID-19 pandemic are:

Stay frugal (33 percent)
Consumers that will spend slightly less with some deep cuts and are very pessimistic about the future.

Back with a bang (23 percent)
These are young working consumers that expect to be better off financially over the next year and are most optimistic.

Keep cutting (21 percent)
Consumers least likely to be working, making deep spending cuts and changing what they buy and how.

Cautiously extravagant (14 percent)
These are middle to high income consumers that are willing to pay a premium for certain products and are relatively optimistic

Get to normal (8 percent)
Consumers that are the least concerned about the pandemic, and their spending was largely unchanged.

“As can be expected, many consumers are concerned about their family, finances, freedom, jobs, the way they shop, the products they buy, and the availability of essentials due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ahmed Reda, MENA Consumer Leader at EY said.

“In fact, COVID-19 has done something that no amount of advertising by brands could do — it has made consumers change their preferences,” Reda said.

The four consumer behavior trends that had emerged during the COVID-19 crisis are: 

Save and stockpile (34 percent)
Consumers that were not so concerned by the pandemic but more worried on their families and pessimistic about the long-term effects.

Hibernate and spend (31 percent)
Consumers that were most concerned with the pandemic but were best positioned to deal with it and optimistic for the future.

Cut deep (31 percent)
Consumers that were hardest hit by the pandemic, most pessimistic about the future and spending less across all categories.

Stay calm and carry on (4 percent)

Consumers that are not changing their spending habits as they are not directly impacted by the pandemic, but are worried that others are stockpiling.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun, editing by Seban Scaria)



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© ZAWYA 2020