Consumer behavior continues to evolve during pandemic


Consumer behavior continues to evolve during pandemic

An ag economics associate professor anticipates consumer behavior and shopping patterns to continue to evolve during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the short-term, Ohio State University’s Zoe Plakias says the recent spike in cases in some areas and return to stay-at-home orders will lead to higher food at-home purchasing and permanent restaurant closures.

“We also are seeing continued high unemployment and consumer policy uncertainty,” she says. “We don’t know if and when there will be additional support for consumers in the form of CARES Act or other spending by the federal government and so to me this means there is going to be increased consumer focus on price and shelf stability.”

She says there will likely be a slow return to pre-covid consumer buying patterns.

“So I think we’re going to see a move back toward some of the non-price values that folks are able to care about when they have that key price piece taken care of,” she says. “I think we’re also going to see after the winter a renewed interest in outdoor markets, agritourism venues, and those kinds of things.”

Speaking during the OSU Ag Policy and Outlook Conference, Plakias says the interest and availability in online sales are expected to continue.