Inside the consumer brain – Maltese consumption during Covid-19
It’s safe to say, things at present are a little ODD.
Logistically, the pandemic has challenged the very nature of global trade, and when it comes to consumer demand, the upheaval in the day-to-day lives of billions of people across the world has brought about a rollercoaster of psycho-social and emotional fluctuations.
But how has Covid-19 affected the Maltese consumer? As a nation, we have not seen the extent of restrictions and national lockdowns that larger countries have repeatedly enforced.
Let’s take a look at some of the shifts in the behaviour of Maltese consumers and what the drivers behind such behavioural changes may be.
Spending has decreased for non-essentials and increased for essentials.
Similar to many countries, Maltese consumers have significantly turned their backs on ‘luxury’ spends. Spending has shifted from holidays, clothing, beauty treatments and trips to the cinema to the essentials of human consumption – household items, food and groceries. With more people staying home due to a combination of government restrictions and societal fear of the pandemic, this shift is self-explanatory. If we are going to have to spend a lot of our time in one place, consumers want to make that space as comfortable and full of resources as possible. Covid-19 has also had a huge impact on the economy, so with wage cuts and business closures, spending power is not what it used to be; people are being more cautious with their money and prioritising on essentials.
Converting to the digital.
With concerns for health still extremely high, Maltese consumers have taken to digital technology at an exponential rate. Delivery services, especially those in the food and drink sector have boomed, with people feeling more at ease to eat in than dine out. Across the sectoral board, businesses and companies have seen an increased demand for comprehensive online stores and customer service. Adapting to restrictions on physical contact means that Maltese consumers have taken to socialising and keeping in touch digitally, with social media platforms seeing a significant rise in traffic.
Younger generations are expected to consume less.
Whilst there is a general trend of spending less, there has been an interesting shift in those under 40 years old. The younger generation has reported wanting to take the trend of reducing physical possessions into the future. This trend could be driven by a number of factors; the general western-world shift towards minimalism and conscious consumption; the shift in consumer mindset towards the ‘experience’ rather than the ‘possession’ and an overall shift in how and what the Maltese consumer prioritises.
There is no doubt that the behaviour of Maltese consumers has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and whether the shift in priorities and spending habits will continue into the future is yet to be seen. You can bet your money on one thing though.
Digitalisation is here to stay.