March 17 of 2021 marked the one year anniversary of the first COVID-19 shutdown for the state of New Mexico. As consumers have spent the last year in and out of lockdown, their buying behavior has transformed. In our upcoming series of three blogs, we will discuss three major shifts in consumer behavior that have taken effect since the start of the pandemic. This blog will focus on the first major shift in consumer behavior: health-conscious buying.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a national shift towards more health-conscious living. This movement is predicted to be long lasting, and will shape the way consumers use their spending power for years to come. Currently, this shift is resulting in changes in a number of industries:

1. Household cleaners and sanitizing products

At the beginning of the pandemic, ‘The Toilet Paper War’ created a country-wide shortage of paper goods. Panic-buying of these items exacerbated the shortage, pushing tissues, paper towels and wipes into high demand. Other sanitary and health products, including hand sanitizers, cleaning sprays/wipes/aerosols, thermometers, diapers, bidets, water filters and hand soaps also began to run scarce, as people across the country and around the globe started stocking up on ways to keep their homes and themselves clean and virus-free.

According to the CDC, the best way to prevent the spreading of germs (and in turn, COVID-19), is to wash or sanitize your hands regularly. This was good news for hand sanitizer companies like Purell, which claimed that hand sanitizer sales jumped 600% in 2020.

Additionally, the EPA’s List N provides consumers with the most effective disinfectants to combat the virus. The top recommended products include:

  • Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
  • Lysol Disinfecting Wipes
  • Lysol Disinfectant Spray
  • Lysol Max Cover Mist
  • Clorox Multi-Surface Cleaner + Bleach
  • Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner + Bleach
  • Lysol Kitchen Pro Antibacterial Cleaner
  • Clorox Bleach

The pandemic resulted in increased sales of everything on this list, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a large market for businesses and products oriented towards sanitization.

Consumers want to feel safe and healthy. Products that help them feel this way sell.

2. At-home entertainment

With stay-at-home mandates in place and the rise of virtual school and work, people are spending more time at home and prioritizing different activities. During the pandemic, people have spent significantly more time on entertainment (TV, movies, games), picking up new hobbies (like yoga or painting), family time and physical fitness. This prioritization of new activities and family bonding show an increased concern not just for physical, but for mental, health and happiness.

A study by OnePoll found that “66% of those surveyed said the pandemic has brought them closer to their family than ever before. And 77% of respondents were also in agreement that they’ve enjoyed spending more time with the members of their household.” This has led to increased purchases of board games and puzzles. The CEO of Hasbro said that the company is experiencing strong demand during the coronavirus pandemic. Sorry, Jenga, Connect 4 and Clue (which are all Hasbro-owned games) have been some of Amazon’s top sold board games during the pandemic.

Companies that market products around alleviating boredom and promoting family unity stand to profit now, more than ever.

3. Fitness

While good sanitization practices and quality family time are key to physical and mental health during times of isolation, fitness has also become a popular pastime. From $3,000 cardio machines to $20 yoga mats, fitness equipment and at-home workouts are thriving substitutes for local gyms and hot-yoga.

Health and fitness equipment revenue more than doubled during the pandemic, while sales of treadmills soared 135% and sales of stationary bikes nearly tripled. Loungewear and workout attire seem to be the COVID-19 “look,” making athleisure nearly 20% of online apparel sales in 2020. And 64% of us are spending more time on fitness apps than we were last year, according to a report by Apptopia. Additionally, “Video workout apps got 65% more downloads than non-video-based workout apps, had almost 40% more daily active users, and generated 15% more revenue” said Apptopia.

The same study found the top 5 fitness apps to include:

  • Calm: 8.6 million installs
  • Fitbit: 4.8 million installs
  • MyFitnessPal: 3.9 million
  • installs
  • Headspace: 3.8 million installs
  • Flo: 3.6 million installs

As gyms have closed their doors and mask mandates have taken effect, consumers have turned to fitness companies to provide ways to keep in shape in isolation. Companies that promote healthy habits, healthy eating, and accessible fitness routines can take advantage of this shift.

What does this mean?

To sum up what these trends mean for your business: companies that take a more holistic, health-centric approach towards marketing themselves and their products can reach a large consumer base with a huge amount of spending power. People are prioritizing physical health, mental health and cleanliness more than ever. Companies should do the same.

That’s it for our first blog on shifts in consumer behavior. Comment below, or on our Facebook or Instagram page, to let us know what you think. And stay on top of shifting marketing trends by keeping up with our Esparza blog. Our next installment: sustainability and shopping locally.