INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES

Europeans Putting Health & Wellbeing Before All Else

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From The Editorial Director
Biggest question is whether consumer behaviors developed now will stick in the future. Deloitte Big Data has been conducting a series of reports in multiple countries/regions around the globe to gain a better understanding of the mindset of consumers as the COVID-19 crisis continues.  This month we take a look at Deloitte’s findings in their Deloitte State of Consumer Tracker series with regard to Europe. The survey was conducted with 15,000 respondents from 15 countries, including seven European states - France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom - in the late May, 2020.
The Deloitte report concluded that health concerns dominate the European consumers over financial and employment distress in the era of COVID-19, according to the aforementioned Deloitte State of Consumer Tracker survey, with respondents being anxious about the health of their families (62%) and their physical wellbeing (48%). The tracker also emphasizes financial distress, with 42% of European respondents delaying large purchases, while 38% are concerned over losing their job.  Spanish consumers experience the highest concerns about family health (76%), followed by France (72%) and Ireland (65%). The same three countries are also among the most concerned ones regarding physical well-being – Spain (70%), France and Ireland (50%). At the opposite end, the Netherlands is slightly more relaxed about issues related to family health (43%) and well-being (32%). When it comes to fear of losing their jobs, the Spanish respondents feel the greatest pressure (59%), followed by the Italians (45%) and the British (38%). 
A quarter of the European consumers said they planned to spend more in the next four weeks on groceries and 21% on household goods, with the Irish and the Italians being the top spenders of these categories of goods. Even with raised concerns about health and safety, European consumers still have a preference for offline purchase channels given the fact that more than half of them intend to spend their money in-store for groceries (72%) and household good (74%) shopping.  
Based on the spending behavior, the study sketches four consumer profiles. The predominant European profile is the social conscious shopper (over 45%), which intends to buy more from local brands even if they cost a little more. The stockpiler, which plans to keep stocks of goods for more than immediately needed, is mainly represented by Italians (43%), British (41%) and Irish (39%). Most of the bargain hunters, a profile characteristic to people who buy on the spot non-essential items if they find good deals, are in Germany (47%) and UK (46%). The convenience seekers, which are consumers who spend more on convenience goods, are numerous in Ireland and the UK (46%) and in Spain (41%).
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MAJOR CONCERNS

“Impacted on so many levels by anxiety, the consumer mindset and behavior have shifted towards a new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people readjusted their priorities. It is no doubt that these changes were also fueled by the containment measures adopted by authorities, impacting the retail trade industry right from the beginning of the outbreak. Given that our country benefits from high quality of internet services, Romanians were more inclined towards online shopping during the lockdown, as shown by the increases in sales reported by major online retailers,” said Oana Buhaescu, Audit Director, Deloitte Romania, and leader for the Retail industry.
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