Post Pandemic Consumer Behaviours

COVID-19 has forced consumers to rethink nearly every aspect of their day-to-day lives. As consumers navigate the innate need to change and adapt, they are working differently, learning differently, shopping, eating, and interacting with others differently – all while seeking a sense of normalcy. The changes in how consumers shop and eat may have experienced the greatest changes. For instance:

  1. 74% of Canadians say the pandemic has changed their eating habits.[i]
  2. 66% of Canadians increased their online shopping habits during COVID-19.[ii]

The most significant changes due to Covid-19 relate to the behaviours linked to being at home. For instance, only 7% of Canadians shopped in-person more frequently. (Please refer to Appendix 1). When we will get back to normal times is a mystery. Slowly we are emerging from this dark period and getting back to normal. Metro announced they experienced a slight shift back to pre-pandemic behaviour during their 3rd quarter results – store visits were up and basket sizes were down. Yet, what can we anticipate from the consumer, post-pandemic?

Post Pandemic Consumer Behaviours

Canadians are settling into new post COVID habits:

Conventional vs. Discount

All 3 major Canadian grocery banners (Loblaws, Sobeys, Metro) have noted a “general uptick” in traffic and sales at their discount banners. As part of Nielsen’s, “The President’s Report – Q2, 2021, they noted discount banners are now slightly outperforming conventional retailers (+4% $ growth – conventional vs. +5% $ growth – discount)[iii]

At Home Dining

One of the most obvious trends as a result of the pandemic that Deloitte has noted is the surge in home cooking:

  • 66% of Canadians and 72% of those between the ages of 35-54 are cooking more at home than in the previous year.
  • 63% prepare dinner from scratch 4 to 6 times a week.

Marty Weintraub, National retail leader at Deloitte feels many of these new trends will stick around post-pandemic.[iv]

Shopping methods

Before the pandemic, online shopping and home delivery were common, but “click & collect” was relatively new and has seen major increases in use since the pandemic began. Consumers seem to have embraced “click and collect,” and are significantly more likely to use the service post-pandemic. (Please refer to Appendix 2).

Ethics and Local Shopping

Being environmentally friendly and following ethical practices are becoming increasingly important to consumers. Price Waterhouse Cooper reports:

  • 32% of Canadians are willing to pay more for brands with well-known ethical practices.
  • 57% of buyers are seeking out local businesses to support, with 34% doing this more often than before the pandemic.[v]

Brand Loyalty

According to Fortune magazine, a July 2020 report from Ketchum noted that “45% of shoppers have altered their brand preference amid the rapid changes in the world.” And a short month later, McKinsey’s research estimated that number at 73%. With the pandemic having accelerated the shift to online shopping, it is further eroding brand loyalty by exposing consumers to other brands through connected ratings and reviews.[vi]

As part of their study into consumer buying behaviour shifts, Reshift Media, a Canadian-based digital marketing and development organization specializing in retail businesses reported: “53% of North Americans say they have changed the way they will shop going forward, indicating that the shifts that have taken place over the pandemic will have lasting impacts on retail.”[vii] As consumers endure more and more change each day, brands must find a way to read and anticipate these new consumer trends and respond in real-time to maximize their desired outcomes.



[i] Stress Eating and the Canadian Consumer,, Sylvain Charlebois, July / August 2021

[ii] Covid-19 Pandemic Upends Canadian Shopping Habits,, November 2020

[iii] The President’s Report, Canadian FMSG Sector, Quarter 2, 2021

[iv] Consumers in the Post-Pandemic Era,, June/July 2021

[v] How the Pandemic Has Changed Retail and Buying Behaviours,, June 2021

[vi] How Brand Loyalty is Disappearing and What to Do About It,, March 2021

[vii] How the Pandemic Has Changed Retail and Buying Behaviours,, June 2021