Weekend Rewind: What will the new normal look like after the coronavirus?

What will the new normal look like after the coronavirus?

Bottom Line: Until the day they died, both of my grandmothers who’d lived through the Great Depression lacked trust in the banking system. Living through that type of trauma tends to leave a lasting impact on people. We’ve had conversations about what might be different. Are handshakes a thing of the past? Surely greetings with a kiss will be on the decline...but what behaviors have most of us already decided will be different going forward?And when should we move forward? Gallup wrapped up a national survey and found interesting answers. Starting with when we should get back to everyday life. 

  • 71% - Wait 
  • 20% - Now
  • 10% - Permanent change to daily life

There a are couple of interesting takeaways here. Clearly most Americans think our current wait-and-see approach is the best one, while one in five think we should reopen everything now.But also, noteworthy is that ten percent of people have already been so impacted by this pandemic, they feel we shouldn’t go back to life as it was before, even after the threat of this virus passes. Those are the people already in the camp my grandmothers were regarding banks after the depression. But what about a permanent change in habits? 

I’ve suggested this pandemic is the kind of change catalyst which will take existing trends and advance them by about a decade. As the case may be most of those habits are already consistent with social distancing measures. Starting with cash. We were already down to only 31% of transactions taking place with physical currency. Where are we now? In March only 8% of purchases were made with cash. And that was March,the country wasn’t even shutdown for part of the month. How likely are we to break the trend of mostly using something other than money to make purchases once this is done? Another example is grocery delivery. Entering 2020 only 19% of Americans had ordered groceries online. Current estimates show 57% have since the pandemic began. That’s a huge change catalyst. And you can count me in the grocery group. Speaking of online purchases...In 2019, 16% of all retail sales were online. What do you think that looks like now? 

The takeaway is this. Trends already in motion often fit the current lock down. Once it’s over, the new normal will likely include massive permanent advancements within those trends. In business – we should be prepared to adapt. In everyday life there will be differences. And this is independent of the 10% who are already much more deeply, and likely permanently, impacted in their habits and decisions due to the pandemic.

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