Bobby Chacko recently discussed consumer and cultural changes due to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has already had major societal impacts, and many of these changes may be enduring. One of the most interesting features of the pandemic, and also what sets it apart from other major world events in recent years, is that COVID-19 is a global issue. Bobby Chacko is a veteran business executive who has worked with companies like GE, Mars, and Coca-Cola. He recently discussed consumer and cultural changes we can expect to see post-pandemic.
“Many of the cultural changes we’ve experienced due to the pandemic will not disappear due to a vaccine or a reduction in case numbers,” Bobby Chacko said. “These are changes that are expected to remain in effect for years to come.”
Bobby Chacko explained that while the coronavirus pandemic has been a negative experience for most, not all of the cultural and consumer changes should be seen in the same light. For instance, Bobby Chacko explained that the virus has made many communities more collective. The importance of the community has been revived, especially in the United States, which is often seen as a very individual society, focused on personal success and freedom.
“We can see this collectivism through the way consumers are shopping and dining,” Bobby Chacko said. “Many towns and cities across the country have gravitated more toward making local purchases in support of the local community. We are also seeing more “backyard barbecues” with “safe” family friends fostering more closer bonds”
Bobby Chacko explained that we’ve also been driven more toward local foods and other consumer items, because of major changes in importing from faraway countries like China and India.
“We’ve also seen a major shift in the items people are purchasing,” Bobby Chacko said. “The pandemic has shifted us away from purchasing experiences, like concert tickets or vacations, and toward items that will better our lives at home.”
Bobby Chacko explained that with travel put on the back-burner, consumers have been purchasing more items to make their at-home lives more comfortable. Sales of Peloton exercise bikes have skyrocketed nearly 66 percent since the pandemic began. The sheer amount of time spent at home due to lockdowns has driven consumers to focus on making that life more comfortable or healthy. Use of social media with new apps like Tik Tok and Discord having contributed to new entertainment channels when all content have been depleted via normal channels like Netflix etc..
“One consumer aspect of the pandemic that we may see harm small local shops is the fact that they’ll need to develop online stores to remain in the current market,” Bobby Chacko said. “Those who were formerly reluctant to shop online have now been forced to do so, and we could see many of them continue this habit once the pandemic has passed.”
Bobby Chacko finished by stating that the cultural and consumer shifts due to the pandemic are undeniable. As a society, we will need to continue working together to preserve certain aspects we hold dear, such as our local community shops, restaurants, and other businesses that may be facing closure right now.