Consumer Behaviours have changed due to Covid, that has decimated Consumer Retail Sector…so what happens next?

Nick Ayton
25 min readDec 1, 2020

Amidst the numerous bankruptcies and foreclosures of some the largest brands and retailers, with tens of thousands of smaller family businesses closing their doors, we are witnessing the collapse of the enitre consumer retail sector.

The consumer retail sector — shopping malls, food & beverage, entertainment, hospitality and live events, bars & clubs and restaurants has never faced a crisis like this one. Not even the 2008 financial crisis comes close. A sector that is traditionally seen as the barometer of the economy against which governments determine inflation and the health of a nation.

There is little doubt Covid19 has had a profound impact on consumer behaviours, as the world prepares for new measures as countries periodically ‘lockdown’, events conspire that compound issues for retailers delivering devastating consequences for local economies. Some place hope on a vaccine, that it will somehow return society to some normality, while others fear a two tier society will emerge. Either way the sector has to find a way to respond or all of use will be worse off, have fewer places to go and if like me you like going to resteraunts — there wont be many left.

There has been a fundamental shift in consumer behaviour, changes that introduces important strategic questions.

The key question everyone is asking: will these consumer changes be permanent?

What can retailers, mall developers and operators, grocers and convenience stores do to refine their value strategies?

How can the industry win the confidence of customers?

What should local municipalities do to avoid ‘zombie’ towns and main streets?

How do we rebuild our communities decimated by recent events?

What do owners, landlords, brands and retailers need to do next?

Underlying data

This document looks at the implications of these shifts, examines latest research and customer surveys conducted by the worlds leading consulting firms — McKinsey, PwC, EY and Andersen Consulting. We consider the broader insights from discussions with mall owner/operators and with real estate investors and some leading brands. We explore the emerging opportunities as the retail industry attempts to pivot and…

Nick Ayton

Nick Ayton is General Partners Multi Family Office, Futurist, Film Maker