How the health crisis has changed consumer behavior

While "unprecedented" may be a word we're all tired of hearing at this point, it's nonetheless an apt description of the times we're living in. As the coronavirus pandemic turns the retail industry upside down, NRF, working with Prosper Analytics & Insights, is conducting consumer surveys every week to take a real-time pulse on what consumers are thinking and feeling. In this week's episode of Retail Gets Real, the podcast team comes together remotely and welcomes NRF's Senior Director of Industry and Consumer Insights Katherine Cullen to discuss how consumer behavior is changing in the time of COVID-19. 

According to Cullen, about 45 percent of consumers are focusing on what they need right now versus what they want. Essential items include grocery products, cleaning supplies and personal care, but staying at home has given rise to some new needs as well. People are looking to find joy where they can, and that’s given a boost to books, media and electronics. And with all that time to fill at home, crafting and hobby purchases are also up. In the midst of all of this, what's become essential is changing — it's not just what we need to eat and stay alive, but also what we need to continue having a sense of normalcy during this time. 

But even in the midst of the crisis of our lifetime, there's optimism to be found: A majority of consumers say celebrating their moms on Mother's Day is even more important this year. Listen to the full episode to hear more about what Mother's Day looks like this year, how consumers are finding ways to celebrate in isolation, how the Boomer generation is adapting and more.

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