Once the coronavirus outbreak is contained, how will markets and consumers behave?
The word ‘unprecedented’ is often misused – not so at the moment. This morning around half of the world’s population have awoken to a lifestyle they could barely contemplate a few weeks ago. Existences once punctuated by money-earning and money-spending activities have become much simpler, more repetitive, and a lot less economically active.
What happens when it is all over? Once we are all untethered from our current home isolations, will we go back to our old ways? One can imagine a fairly robust celebration when the crisis passes – assuming social distancing rules are sufficiently relaxed. Then what? Will this strange period of altered behaviour leave us permanently altered in our view?
To answer that and a number of other pertinent questions from our client base as to what wine consumers will do in the world after this virus crisis has passed, we are asking a series of new questions in our Vinitrac® Global survey of wine drinkers in key consumption market around the world. These interviews started last week and will continue over the next two weeks in 14 markets around the world – including China, USA, Australia, the UK, Germany, Canada and Sweden. We are hoping that the answers will help our client base deduce whether the old habits of the wine category have been replaced.
Some questions will seek to validate behaviours that are already well documented by anecdotal evidence. Much more online shopping has been happening over the past few weeks than ever before, and we will measure this change, and define which consumer segments it is affecting the most. Similarly, a lot more social interaction is happening online – in many cases, accompanied by wine or other alcoholic beverages. How much more? Who’s doing it? And how often?
We have designed a series of questions to ask about the fundamental architecture of wine drinking in the time of the virus. Many markets have reported a surge in retail purchases of wine (and other beverages) as consumers stocked up for what might be a prolonged period of home isolation. Will a full shelf or fridge – and not much else to do – prompt an increase in wine consumption? Or the opposite? Will new occasions emerge? And how will consumer perceptions and needs for quality, value and intellectual interest be affected?
Finally, we will be starting to track how broader habits and expectations might be changing, and the impact on wine consumption. Will this period of isolation make people more likely to hold a social event once lockdown is relaxed? What about their inclination to go on vacation abroad? How are they feeling about their finances?
We will be releasing this new data in the form of syndicated reports, starting in a few weeks’ time. As each market starts to report, we may see more broader patterns of behaviour that will be notable. As always, if you are writing your post-virus business plan and have a burning question or two about market dynamics after the lockdown, please get in touch. We may be able to help.