The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the pattern of food consumption around the world, writes SCMP.

The coronavirus pandemic has completely changed the psychology of consumers around the world – now people are gradually reducing the amount of expensive household appliances and smartphones they are buying, because they may lose their jobs in the future, experts from Harvard University in the United States say. For example, in Hong Kong, retail trade fell by 44% compared to the same period last year, and in the future the numbers will continue to fall due to the lack of money among the population.

At the same time, the fall of the entire market occurred against the background of a sharp increase in online shopping, food and vital services.

Experts used data from the Great Depression, the 2009 global financial crisis, and the September 11 terrorist attacks to draw up a model of the recovery in consumer activity. However, the current pandemic has too many variables, so it is not clear when the crisis will end and how deep it will be.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic is taking place gradually, and not like other recent global crises, which have become a one-time acute shock for the entire system. During this pandemic, people lack knowledge of the situation, while everyone monitors the behavior of others and adjusts, scientists, add.

“The coronavirus pandemic has completely changed consumer behavior patterns around the world. People are afraid, and when people are afraid, they go into survival mode”.

Jesse Garcia, a psychologist from Los Angeles.

It is not yet known how long the pandemic will last and whether the second wave will come, adds Jesse Garcia. Goldman Sachs experts already predict that the US unemployment rate will reach 15% in the second quarter of this year, and may rise further to the historical peak of 24.9%, observed in 1933 during the Great Depression.

How much time is required for consumer behavior to return to normal depends on the psychological stability of each person, including how quickly they can adapt to changes, how optimistic they are and whether they can take some measures to restore feelings controls added to Goldman Sachs.

According to economists at Michigan State University, it may take American consumers more than two years to feel secure enough in their jobs again and regain their purchasing power. However, a longer and more episodic duration of a pandemic can increase this period.