How did consumers' shopping behaviour change during Covid-19

Survey: In 2020, 38% of Europeans were concerned about being able to pay their bills

Photo: EU

Doing shopping closer to home, supporting local businesses, making ‘greener' choices and willing to pay more for a long-lasting product are just a few of the findings of a survey on the behaviour of consumers in 2020, which the Commission published on Friday.

In this annual exercise the Commission collects  data on consumption patterns in the Single Market and it serves to assess consumers’ needs. The current figures collected in 2020 indicate the impact of Covid-19 on purchasing behavior of Europeans.

According to the analysis, 71% of consumers shopped online in 2020, 42% of them considered postponing a major purchase and 80% would not make any travel plans until the situation was back to normal in their country.

On average 38% of Europeans responded that they were concerned about paying their bills the following month and the citizens' financial concerns ranged from 7% to 71% in different Member States.

All in all, 56% of consumers said environmental concerns influenced their purchasing decisions and 67% stated that they bought products that were better for the environment, even if such products were more expensive. The preference of 81% of consumers was to shop closer to home and to support local businesses.

Saying that the pandemic left a mark on consumers, Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, explained that while 38% of them were concerned about being able to pay their bills, another 42% decided to postpone major purchasing decisions.

He will discuss the key data at the forthcoming Consumer Summit that will take place on 15 March, to engage all participants in concrete actions to accelerate the recovery from Covid-19 and the green transition.

Not impacted by the crisis compared to previous surveys, the level of consumer trust in retailers remained high at again 80%. At the same time extensive knowledge of consumer rights remained low – still at 27%, and the share of consumers confronted with a purchasing problem for which they felt they could legitimately complain is also unchanged, staying at 23%.

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