Consumers try new ways to get health care, buy vehicles, eat and work out as the pandemic shakes up habits
An REI worker loaded purchases for a curbside pickup of an online order outside the flagship store in Seattle earlier this year.
PHOTO: ELAINE THOMPSON/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brooke Mallers recently bought a used car online, she uses food and grocery delivery services more and she makes telehealth appointments—new habits that she expects to last long after the coronavirus pandemic is over.
“I’m not sure I’ll ever go into a car dealership again,” said the 58-year-old retired investor in Boulder, Colo. “It was fun to have an experience that’s new and the internet enables.”
The pandemic’s disruptions have transformed how American consumers behave by accelerating their embrace of digital commerce, and the changes are likely to prove permanent, according to businesses studying and adapting to the changes.
A recent survey by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. found that about three out of four people have tried a new shopping method due to the coronavirus and that more than half of all consumers intend to continue using curbside pickup and grocery-delivery services after the pandemic is over. Nearly 70% of consumers surveyed intend to continue buying online for store pickup.
The pandemic collapsed into three months a process of adopting e-commerce that otherwise would have taken 10 years in the U.S., the firm concluded.