Published on March 28th, 2021 | by Bibhuranjan


Consumers: How they’ve reacted to the pandemic

With the light being glimpsed at the end of this pandemic tunnel, analysts are looking back at the previous year in an effort to understand just how consumer changed their spending habits.

We’ve seen drastic challenges experienced by many industries, certainly, but the money available to adults and households in the UK hasn’t disappeared entirely. Indeed, many consumers in the country have shifted their disposable income habits and savings practices in new and interesting ways.

Pessimism and pennies

Hope plays a major role in how we plan for the weeks and months ahead of us. In the first few months of the lockdown, government bodies and independent research groups noted a drastic uptake in the removal of credit card debt amongst adults. With no real date in sight for vaccines and the easing of strict lockdowns, adults responded by doing the practical thing and addressing the financial obligations that they otherwise would ignore.

And now, with vaccines rolling out and hope returning to the UK and wider world, consumers have become less pessimistic about their spending habits. Shopping intent is being revitalized and the appetite to purchase is expected to return in a wave once retail areas are free to be walked within once more.

How behavior has shifted

Analysts have looked at consumer behaviour as it stands and have identified four key areas in which significant changes have occurred. Here’s what they are, according to the UK Consumer Pulse Survey.


Understandably, research has shown that while many adults don’t explicitly intend to spend less money, they do plan to lower the amount they allocate to what is often termed ‘discretionary spending’, or disposable income to others. As many as 65% plan to make this shift, indicating a rational and respectable response to the sudden uncertainty induced by COVID-19.

Online buying

With so much restriction placed on physical movement, it’s natural that our digitally connected country would see a shift in buying habits towards the internet. This has been seen across all age groups, with studies showing as many as 40% of adults planning to continue their online purchasing preferences once the country opens up again.

Interestingly, this shows us a shift in purchasing habits among age groups and demographics less inclined towards the internet – an intriguing demonstration of how necessity can change how a person learns to spends their money. Whether through savings held on to or from the careful spending of financial help provided by bad credit lenders, the internet is taking even more of the spotlight in how we use our money.


We’re all creatures of habit and we tend to stay relatively loyal to the brands we like to purchase from. Viral incidents and changes in product quality aside, this has long been a stable and predictable metric that businesses use to plan their offerings. COVID has changed this. A majority of polled consumers now say they have significantly changed the brands they buy from, even when the pandemic is officially ‘over’ in the general sense of the word.


The early months of the UK lockdown were marked by a confusing back and forth from the government on expectations and social movement. This has seemingly led to a large shift in how cautious consumers are, with a stunning 90% of polled adults in the UK saying they are going to wait before returning to any kind of normalcy in their spending habits. Already burned once, families and households will return to spending slowly and steadily, with the fear of more restrictions lingering even after the country opens up once more.

A new reality for consumers

Changing habits and cautiousness aside, we are thrilled to see the country endure such a challenging period in its collective history. We team commend the work of healthcare staff and wish you all safety and health in the year ahead. Stay safe out there!

Photo by on Unsplash

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Editorial Officer, I'm an avid tech enthusiast at heart. I like to mug up on new and exciting developments on science and tech and have a deep love for PC gaming. Other hobbies include writing blog posts, music and DIY projects.

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