COVID-19 has affected our lifestyle and consumption very significantly, and with a pandemic as a faithful companion in the coming winter months, the changed behavior continues long into 2021. Overall, we have gone from the extrovert and experience to introvert and security in every aspect of consumerism and our home has become the new HQ.
The new HQ – Home Quarter
The pandemic has fundamentally shaken our traditional ways of thinking and doing everything. Initially it felt strange, but it is becoming more natural to us as months pass by. When work, school, childcare, family time, sleep, health, fitness, eating etc. all happen in one place we talk of the new home quarter – and consequently we shift our focus to optimizing, expanding, renovating, and securing our home – we want a safe base in an uncertain time.
Perhaps you remember the phrase ‘Cocooning’ coined by Faith Popcorn in 1981 and described as “the need to protect oneself from the harsh, unpredictable realities of the outside world”. Forty years have passed since that phrase came to light – but it is still highly relevant.
Cocooning, nesting or ‘home quartering’ is a reaction to an uncertain time where we want to protect ourselves, but also a reaction to the fact that since the financial crisis we have become a little overstimulated, have seen too much, traveled too much, experienced too much and really need to pull the plug.
Time and family in a new light
The ultimate luxury for most people – pre-Covid-19– was described as more time, focus, and calmness - and we had it served to us in large quantities in the spring. It took just a little while to get used to the raw amount of time, and initially we got even more stressed. But from summer and onwards we have enjoyed the extra time and engaged in new hobbies and activities based in the home. In fact, we have become happy about the chance to avoid indifferent meetings, superficial events, and meaningless activities. The pandemic has given us more family time and created a kind of collective grounding that most people will try to stick to - even if the calendar quickly fills up again.
We have been forced to stop and have had time to reflect on our lives and lifestyles. It has been healthy for most people - and thus crises are also a gift.
Back to normal
We should not think that the changed behavior will last forever. Our lives and our consumption run largely on autopilot and habits. Some aspects of COVID-19 consumer behavior will quickly disappear again, while other aspects will linger for a year or two until we have shaken off the crisis. Some of the changed consumer behavior will however turn out to be so favorable for us all that they will stay - and lasting change can in the history books of the future be related to the health crisis in 2020.