The date we’d rather forget that is burned into our memories.

Buying behaviour before, during and after COVID-19

Point of no return

11 March 2020. The date we’d rather forget that is burned into our memories. Exactly one year ago today the Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen gave a speech that shut Denmark down. Twelve never-to-be-forgotten months followed that changed buying behaviour forever.


Fortunately, hoarding toilet paper and other oddities quickly went by the wayside, though other more structural changes ensued that will invariably affect us in the months and years ahead.

Marketsquare Shopper Insights 2020 mapped buying behaviour right up to the lockdown in March 2020 and again in September 2020 when Denmark temporarily opened up again. In just six months the market share of e-commerce dramatically increased across 13 different industries, in fact corresponding to more than the entire scope of development in the last three years. On top of this, Christmas shopping set new e-commerce records. Overall, online revenue in Denmark increased by 6%, landing at 21 billion Euro. This occurred despite the absence of the entire experience industry for most of the year. The growth derived from new categories, such as groceries, but also from new customer groups, not to mention that older segments are also solidly on board in terms of e-commerce.


New habits. New opportunities

If it takes 21 days to form a new habit and the adage holds true, then more than ample time has passed for the new behaviour to get under people’s skin.

And it’s not just buying behaviour that has increasingly moved into digital channels. Most of our working lives have also moved online. Working remotely has made a regular breakthrough and all that this implies in terms of shopping routines, e.g. more parcel shops, more local commerce, more social shopping and, not least, more click and collect.


Forced business development and fresh ideas

The lockdown forced everyone who was hit to reconceive and develop their business. Classical restaurants now offer high-end takeaway, fashion boutiques provide live shopping and hotels have embraced renting rooms to private individuals as office space. Moreover, retailers who previously never used multiple channels learned the hard way that it was imperative to adjust rapidly. It certainly wouldn’t be surprising if these crisis measures are here to stay.

Once society opens up completely again, the new normal will be put to the test. Humans are social animals who can’t help but pour into the streets. We are more than well aware of what we’ve missed out on, but also conscious of what we can easily do without from before 11 March 2020 now. What’s more, the customers who return to physical stores will be pampered with good service, advice and exciting new products and store experiences because the old one-eyed focus on cheap prices no longer cuts the mustard.


If you would like to know more about the specific changes in buying behaviour, contact CEO and Partner Jens Thrane-Møller at [email protected]