Consumer ‘COVID-19 hangover’ means a slow return to normal for businesses


The country is slowly re-emerging from lockdown one region at a time, but Canadians are not in a rush to go out and spend like they would in pre-pandemic days. Businesses can expect a gradual return to normal as consumer anxiety slowly lifts.

In the Deloitte State of the Consumer Tracker report, surveys show that 52 per cent of Canadians feel safe going back to stores. Marty Weintraub, national retail leader at Deloitte Canada, said this figure was about 32 per cent a month earlier.

“As certain parts of the country in various cities are opening up and stores are allowed to resume operations, I think you’ll start to see that 52 per cent climb steadily over the next few weeks, but it’s going to be a bit of a slow climb.”

For industries relying on face-to-face engagement (like hair styling and physiotherapy), this climb could take even longer, with 45 per cent of those surveyed feeling comfortable interacting with others in person.

The rate that Canadians return to stores is one part of the equation, but Weintraub said that the economic battering many households took during the pandemic means consumers will shy away from larger, non-essential purchases.

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