Complex Made Simple

How COVID-19 made us health, environment, and cost-conscious

With COVID-19, consumer behavior experienced changes in discretionary income and spare time and reconsidered values and priorities. How have UAE consumers adjusted their behavior towards spending, health, and the environment?

UAE consumers are more price-conscious and are increasingly looking for ways to save 46% reduced their food wastage at home, with women (50%) being more conscious than men (44%) A quarter (25%) of respondents reduced their electricity and water consumption

What is clear is that with so many people under- and unemployed, large portions of the population are spending less overall.

Consumer behavior experiences changes in discretionary income and spare time and reconsidered values and priorities. An Accenture research found that 33% of consumers are finding themselves ‘financially-squeezed’, with less disposable income compared to before the crisis, and are shopping more cost consciously. The majority (75%) are limiting food waste, and 67% are shopping more health-consciously. Demand for local goods is growing, as consumers seek out products they feel they can trust, and efficiency is also on consumers’ minds, as they are doing fewer and larger shopping trips. Overall, there are 10 consumer trends impacting goods purchased.

62% are trying new recipes, 51% are spending time on home improvements. 

77% of Americans plan to save more, 32% plan to save money instead of making purchases, and 24% say they will compare prices more often post-pandemic.

Nearly half of U.S. adults (45%) say that the availability of promotions, discounts, or sales is most important to them when considering whether to buy from a company.  

What about the UAE?

Read: Detect where COVID-19 is “surfacing”, within touching distance

Same conditions, similar behaviors

Emirati residents are experiencing declining income and are cutting back on their spending, a recent Mckinsey report has shown. 

Consumers are more price-conscious and are increasingly looking for ways to save. Most consumers are not yet fully comfortable going back to regular out-of-home activities and are waiting for milestones beyond government lifting restrictions to return to regular activities.  

Meanwhile, management consulting firm Kearney Middle East has just revealed insights into changes in community, family, and sustainability behaviors. This is following a survey of more than 1000 UAE residents conducted by YouGov which revealed that 62% of the respondents in the UAE have experienced a significant or complete change in their lives during the pandemic.

The survey revealed that 1 in 3 (33%) respondents have supported local businesses by buying more locally sourced and produced foods and products during the pandemic. 

Read: The UAE is serious about personal protective equipment

Over half (56%) of respondents carried out more household chores – 51% of the men surveyed and over two-thirds of the women (68%) claimed to have increased time spent on cleaning and cooking.  

Respondents have been taking active measures to reduce their environmental impact. 46% reduced their food wastage at home, with women (50%) being more conscious than men (44%). Over half (51%) of respondents over the age of 45 threw away less food compared to 38% of youth.

A quarter (25%) of respondents reduced their electricity and water consumption, with those over the age of 45 (32%) saving more compared to those aged between 18 and 24 (22%).  Those earning between 20,000 Dirhams and 40,000 Dirhams supported eco-friendly brands twice as more (27%) as those with incomes of up to 5,000 Dirhams (12%).

Around 28% of respondents reduced the use of their personal cars over the last few months. 

Kearney has developed a whitepaper: “Hope in uncertain times: how COVID-19 could help us find new habits that stick”. Find it here.