Consumer Trends: Does Shopping Feel More Like a Sport Now?

  • October 11, 2021
  • Blog

Trying to follow consumer trends feels a lot like riding a rollercoaster, especially considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumerism. The pandemic forced some consumers to retire their hefty spending accounts or entertainment budgets. Instead, these consumers began focusing on the essentials, like toilet paper and bottled water. Others began to prioritize and budget for renovations of their living spaces since they were spending much more time at home. Lastly, some took to online shopping and impulse buying to pass the time. Regardless of whichever kind of shopper you are, one thing is certain – the pandemic has revolutionized marketing and impacted supply and demand. Whether you are doing some leisure spending or stocking up on essentials, shopping will never be the same.

Impulse buying seemed to be the trend of 2020 and has now seeped well into 2021. While consumers watched images on the news and social media of people panic-buying toilet paper and other household items, everyone stormed their local stores and searched the internet to begin buying in bulk. Meanwhile, others took to TikTok and other social networks to learn about the latest stay-at-home fashions, work-from-home gadgets, and other miscellaneous items that convincing influencers said we absolutely needed. The pandemic seemingly gave people more reasons to shop online and buy things that were not on their shopping lists before March 2020. At POTENTE, we all noticed the difficulty in getting some of our most random, yet favorite buys, such as Disney spirit tees, newly released sneakers, and Rolling Stones memorabilia. While some of our shopping treats might not have been on people’s radars before, they are definitely on people’s wish lists now and even harder to buy. As many storefront locations have completely reopened and returned to pre-pandemic business hours, you might have also noticed longer lines and customer service wait times. For instance, you are less likely to just stroll into Zara or Louis Vuitton to receive immediate assistance. Whether it is hurriedly refreshing a website, standing in a checkout line that spans the entirety of the store, or waiting in a virtual queue just to enter a store, shopping has become a competitive sport. If you contemplate a purchase for too long, you might easily miss out on some of your favorite mainstream items.

Although shopping the latest trends has become a battle to see who can click “checkout” faster, another consumer trend that emerged during the pandemic was increased local and small business shopping. The pandemic made people become even more glued to their phones than they were before. However, as local and small businesses emerged on social media, they received more traffic than they might have before the pandemic. Whether people became motivated by the convenience of more online shopping and delivery options or by the desire to support businesses they could connect with personally, the pandemic did not take long to convince consumers to take advantage of start-ups and small, local businesses that they may have previously overlooked. Although the increase in consumer traffic bogged down some small businesses as well with an influx of new buyers, smaller businesses in many ways were able to engage with their consumers and adjust to their consumers’ needs at a quicker and more efficient rate during the pandemic. People began to value the personalized service and quality of shopping with small, local businesses.

If shopping was not a “thing” for you before, it might be now. Plus, as we approach the holiday season, whether you like shopping or not, it will probably begin lurking in the back of your mind. While we can only hope to get our favorite retail items quickly and inexpensively, the pandemic has undoubtedly created new ways to deliver, pick-up, and order at the click of a button. Even with some of the new accommodations from department stores and other big retailers, if shopping is still something you dread, another way to combat the crowds and competitiveness is to buy small and local.  Smaller businesses are quickly adjusting and becoming receptive to new consumer conveniences. As our communities continue with safer reopening, you can support local businesses by visiting resources like Local Media San Diego. If you prefer online shopping and collecting the trendiest gadgets and other products, check out what is popular on TikTok here.

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