A new report from McKinsey pours water on some of the more sweeping statements made about how life will change in the wake of COVID-19 – realism about the variation of effects will help craft better strategies.

Why it matters: Some practitioners of advertising are more interested in the unchanging rather than the changing human. This research explores the issues and ideas that could hamper COVID-induced shifts that we tend to regard as global.

The report, which you can read here, looks at four main dimensions:

  • Customer experience
    Whether the new experience is better than the one it replaces will be key to longevity. “In Italy, for example, 60 percent of consumers shopped online during the crisis, but fewer than ten percent found the experience satisfying.” This suggests a limit to potential growth of e-commerce in the country in the medium to long-term. In China, meanwhile, the greater adoption of e-commerce is an acceleration of a deeper trend.

    Understanding where new services fall short will be key to designing for the post-pandemic world.
  • Country
    The pandemic has hit different countries in very different ways.

    Temporary setback: For China, it has been just a temporary setback, as a highly digital market merely accelerates.

    Big Shock: For countries like the UK and US, with large digital infrastructure, it is expected that the e-commerce acceleration will stick on the back of a new awareness of health and safety. Economic downturn will see long-term cuts in discretionary spending.

    Big shock, low digital adoption: The problem facing large continental European economies in which there will be declines in discretionary spending with the added hit of lower tourist revenue. Less developed delivery infrastructure means e-commerce unlikely to stick.

    Digital acceleration: Developing markets like Brazil and India, which have seen growing digital infrastructure, will likely see an acceleration depending on the handling of the crisis.
  • Consumer segment
    Cohorts matter deeply. “Income disparities also seem to be driving pronounced behavioral differences across consumer segments. The more affluent have not been feeling the economic impact as much as other cohorts and will have more means for digital acceleration compared with people living paycheck to paycheck.”
  • Values
    Behaviours that are driven by personal values, such as sustainability or the desire for personal interaction, are apt to vary in their long-term adoption rates across countries and regions, depending on local infrastructure and other conditions. 

Sourced from McKinsey