See the Big Picture: Some changes are here to stay

An American recently told me that his leisure business expects some of the new behaviours we are learning during the Covid lockdown to be “here to stay”. They are preparing for “post lockdown” and trying to understand and prepare for how consumer behaviour may have changed permanently.

We will have practised some new behaviours for so long that they will become habits and “new norms”. It takes about six to seven weeks to form a new habit. We will have at least that much time. So what are the behaviours and trends that are here to stay and how might they change our future?

  1. Social distance and better hygiene will be “needed to play” in retail, leisure and businesses in the future. That’s going to be very difficult in densely populated urban settings.
  2. Cocooning in our homes will increase. Regardless of extraversion and introversion, we will see a permanent change and increase in virtual, streaming or home-delivery of everything from groceries, to gaming, home-working and socialising.
  3. Personal tracking and personal-health technology will be more acceptable and lead to some reduction in our privacy. Note the learning from South Korea where some people’s private liaisons were made known for the public good!
  4. Low impact living can work and has an upside. We can maintain some of this reduced carbon-footprint by travelling less, especially internationally. Airline prices will surely have to increase dramatically and that will drive some of the reduction. I’m loving the clear skies and quieter streets.
  5. Key-workers are here to stay. More people will aspire to be “key-workers” or do something that makes a difference. The status and pay of jobs in the emergency services, teaching and food etc. will go up.
  6. Generosity, while causing short-term pain, will build long-term relationships and value. Companies like Timpson in the UK and people like England footballer Gary Neville, who opened his chain of hotels to health-workers free of charge, will come out of this period very, very strong. Balanced scorecards will need to be rebalanced to recognise the value of values in these times.

Many of the winners may be completely new entrants or existing players who are able to act like start-ups, “see the big picture” and adapt. Plus people like a local GP (doctor) who after two years battling with IT to get online consultations, got it done in 24 hours.

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