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Due to the crisis we are facing and the rise in infections in Mexico and the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EY , a firm of professional audit, tax, consulting, strategy and transaction services, published a study called ¿ What to expect from the consumer for 2021 ?. With it, he seeks to identify the expectations and feelings of Mexican consumers in the face of the economic and health crisis; in addition to understanding what are the preferences and habits of the consumer for the beginning of 2021.
The survey carried out during the first weeks of January this year through digital media reveals that the sentiment of those surveyed towards COVID-19 in the coming months shows some concern, since 40% consider that infections will continue to increase and 25% do not believe that the situation will improve in the coming months. However, 26% will continue to come out in the same way, but with the corresponding security measures.
It should be noted that only 7% of Mexican consumers plan to return soon to the pre-COVID lifestyle due to the development of the vaccine, despite the fact that 70% have planned to be vaccinated, 19% are considering it and only 11% it will not.
Slightly optimistic scenario
The economic crisis marked the history of 2020. Therefore, 42% of those surveyed perceive that this situation will worsen during 2021, 29% consider that it will improve and the other 29% that it will remain the same. However, the consumer’s perception of their financial situation indicates a slightly more optimistic scenario, where the most chosen segments are: spending wisely (38%) and staying calm and continuing (31%). While the least popular are: save and store (16%), keep cutting expenses (10%) and return to normality (5%).
“Consumer habits have changed in parallel with the behavior of the crisis and will continue to change. For this reason, companies must be agile to identify changes in consumer demand and adjust the value offer, in addition to adopting resilient and flexible business and operating models to the constant volatility and uncertainty in business and legal environments, both local as well as international ”states Gilberto Lozano, Lead Partner of Business Transformation, EY Latin America North.
Based on the responses obtained, the study reveals that 35% of those surveyed consider that their level of consumption will be affected in the coming months by the economic uncertainty generated by the outbreak. However, 30% of the Mexicans surveyed consider that they will consume in the same way, while 18% indicated that they will be affected by the January slope.
Consumption preferences and habits
On the other hand, the three categories that plan to consume more in the coming months are: food, beauty / personal care and fashion. Regarding the preference in food consumption, the most popular categories are: healthy, natural and local. Furthermore, 77% consider that the most important attribute when buying a product is quality, 57% accessibility, 47% the availability of promotions and discounts and 37% the impact of products on the environment.
Likewise, social distancing has inevitably transformed the way of working and shopping, causing digital media to acquire great importance on a daily basis. The home office has become the new normal; 40% of those surveyed still do not have a defined date to return to work in person, while 30% are already doing so. In addition, electronic commerce will continue to be indispensable for the consumer, since 50% will make most of their purchases in a hybrid way, 30% digitally and only 20% physically.
In this context, companies, in addition to seeking to satisfy the digital expectations of consumers and employees, will have the challenge of complying with the new initiatives of outsourcing and teleworking reforms, for which they must seek to transform themselves into digital organizations.
The distancing is maintained
Despite starting the year with new purposes, more than 70% of the consumers surveyed seem not ready to return to activities such as going on a trip, going to the movies or the theater, or taking a plane. Most do not plan to return to gyms (88%) or attend large events (97%) and will prefer to stay home (85%) and resume activities they can do without putting themselves at risk, such as exercising at home (92% ). On the other hand, 47% of those surveyed plan to visit friends and family, 40% go to shopping centers and 37% to restaurants.
“The behavior of infections, the evolution of the virus and its new strains, as well as the application of the vaccine during the coming months, will considerably influence the perception of the economic and health crisis and, therefore, in the decisions and preferences of consumers for the rest of 2021 ”concludes Lozano.