Unexpected full pockets

On mars 9, 2021 by Ilka Kuhagen

During the prolonged lockdown, consumer behavior changed slowly and apparently almost unnoticed. While stating that nothing really has changed in their consumption, most of the participants realize that they spent significantly less money over time. Thus, saving doesn’t occur on purpose but it seems related to a change in consumer.

 80% say they have spent less money than before the pandemic.   

“At the moment, I have around 250-300€ left over at the end of the month.”

  • No travels for vacation

Of high importance and near to their hearts, is the possibility to travel for Germans; to move around freely and go on a vacation. According to Maslow’s hierarchy, travel has become a basic need in Germany. Participants in our community mention their ‘missed’ vacation and limited travels as the area where they saved most but they miss most and what they will catch up with as soon as it will be possible again!

  • “No vacation in the summer and now no vacation in winter”
  • ”I planned a skiing trip which now will also have to be cancelled”
  • “I travel a lot and am usually on vacation 5-6 times a year”
  • ”Less costs for fuel since we limit driving to the most important journeys“
  • Less money spent on leisure activities

Due to the limitations and regulations, activities on weekends and afternoons have become impossible and thus no money has been spent on sport activities, cinema, or cultural events or even gifts.

  • “Limitations since free time activities are very limited: e.g. pool, sports, cinema – nothing is possible at the moment”
  • “No trips and therefore no costs for fuel / train rides”
  • “Less visits to relatives / general visits / birthday invitations where you bring something along”
  • “An occasional Cappuccino in a cafe is not happening”
  • “No skiing classes for kids (about 250€ per kid)“
  • Online Shopping – reduced spending

A lot more is purchased online nowadays. But this leads to more rational decisions and to spending less money in the end. Spontaneous purchases may be returned. Only what is really needed is bought!

  • “I buy less cloths. Once in a while I order online. In a shop, I wouldn’t have thought about it so much and thus bought more. If I do online shopping, I can think about it for longer, whether I really need it and really like it. Thus, purchases are more rational and in the end, I spend less“
  • ”I spend very little on cloths / shoes. I am not a passionate online shopper for cloths and thus my spendings are very limited in this area”
  • “It’s frustrating to buy cloths online and not good for the environment with all the resources so I just wait.“
  • Home delivery vs restaurant visits:

Eating out has been replaced by home delivery.  A good wine at home is less expensive than wine at a restaurant. Overall a lot of money has thus been saved.

  • “About once a week we get some take away food from a restaurant in the area, this is still a less expensive than our lifestyle before the lockdown”
  • “Even if you sometimes get take away or a delivery, is still cheaper since you do not pay for drinks at the restaurant. An Aperol Spritz for 8€ only costs me around 1-2€ at home. The 30€ expensive bottle costs me 10€ at home“
  • Change of priorities

While needs may have changed during the pandemic, it is an overall perception of priorities that matters most.

  • “I didn’t buy cloths, nor shoes and didn’t go to the café / cinema / hairdresser. Everything was closed and somehow it seemed extremely unsensible and not useful to buy such things (e.g. cloths from Zalando) while people die everywhere”

After weeks of “light” lockdown, Germany went into a full lockdown again on December 16th. That day, IKM started a long-term online community to observe changes in behavior, compliance, emotions, and observations of consumers in their close environment.

Stay tuned – We will consistently post findings from this standing consumer community

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