Monday, 19 october 2020 | Redacción CEU
Our homes have somewhat become private fortresses. Regardless of whether this is due to external or internal factors, it is increasingly difficult to leave homes. In them, we take shelter from the pandemic, work if our job makes it possible, spend more time with our family or flat mates and learn to enjoy a different type of leisure. The restrictions in pubs and restaurants, the fear of contagion, the restrictions on mobility or social bubbles are just some of the reasons that had led us to staying at home despite no longer being forced to follow such strict shelter-in-place orders as the ones we had to obey back in March. Naturally, as a consequence of this new home activity we have also developed new behaviors, and this is having an impact on our consumption patterns. How is this situation transforming us? Is this change only temporary?
Last week we talked about the considerable increase in the sales figures of bicycles. It is not the only sector that has experienced significant growth in these times of pandemic. One of the changes that this virus has caused is that we now stay at home longer and, therefore, we invest more in it, or at least we do so in another way.
A new perspective on the value of homes
The Expansión newspaper has provided, in an article, some interesting data collected by the Spanish National Institute of Statistics. While the turnover of this industry fell by 10.6% in July (in comparison to the same month in 2019), the manufacture of household appliances increased by 7.8% in this same month. For its part, the furniture industry recorded positive figures in its sales in Spain (although it has also suffered a substantial drop in exports). If we highlight this data, it is because they show that customers are placing more focus on their homes.
The same newspaper in the aforementioned article explained that IKEA received over 800,000 visits in the first week of its opening after the lockdown. This behavior leads us to thinking that after a long period of confinement, in which people spent more time at home, the value of housing has started to carry more weight. As we mentioned on our blog a few months ago, the lockdown has led many people to question whether they were comfortable in their own homes. Some of them have decided to embark on (or at least consider) the purchase or rental of another house which is more adjusted to this “new-normal” situation. Many of those who have not wanted, have not been able or have not dared to make a change of this magnitude have chosen to improve their houses, by fixing, renovating, decorating or refurnishing them.
Same needs, but now at home
We spend a lot more time at home, but we have to keep doing the same things. For example, one of them is working. Many people have to do it remotely. Obviously, this has had an impact on our purchases. Although they give different percentages, IDC, Canayls and Gartner have reported a considerable year-on-year growth in computer sales in the third quarter of this year. Specifically, they point out an increase of 14.6%, 12.7% and 3.6% respectively. As we can observe, Gartner’s data is lower. However, if we include Chromebooks, the figures rise to 9%.
Details that seem trivial may also have a strong impact on consumption. During this pandemic, Americans have drunk coffee as often as at the same frequency. Nonetheless, instead of doing it in cafes and restaurants they did it at home. Staying at home has also helped us become more familiar with online shopping. Actually, one of the biggest changes that this new "home-loving customer" model has brought along is a big boost of e-commerce.