How COVID-19 forces retailers to rethink

It is not yet certain how consumers will behave in the "New Normal" after the peak of the crisis. What is clear is that ideas and developments are already emerging in the retail sector that would not have existed without the pandemic. Three examples.

Supermarkt Maske

"Senior hours" for shoppers at risk

To protect older people and vulnerable groups from the coronavirus, supermarket chains such as Walmart, Safeway or Carrefour in the US and Europe have introduced special shopping hours for senior citizens.

At Walmart, the "senior hours" applies to customers over 60 years of age. They receive exclusive access to Walmart shops and pharmacies for one hour before official opening hours. Senior citizens, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems can also shop in the Safeway supermarkets during time slots specially reserved for them. Do these measures offer security and protection for shoppers and employees, or are they the beginning of age discrimination?

Zero-Waste is over, plastic is back 

Concern for health and food safety will lead to increased demand for packaged food. The boom in zero-waste shops could be interrupted if shoppers fear germs and viruses. In any case, the packaging industry is more than ever in demand to develop environmentally friendly, degradable packaging for fruit and vegetables.

The convenience market is collapsing

When a large part of the population works in the home office and no one commutes to work, the demand for convenience food collapses. Even tourists who eat on the road are no longer there as customers. Convenience shops in railway stations are just as affected by this as snack bars in the city. Supermarkets and delivery services, on the other hand, should emerge from the crisis as winners.

From the crisis to the "New Normal"

The decisive factor will be how retailers react to changing consumer behaviour in the individual phases of the pandemic.

Timeline New Normal


Short-term changes in consumer behaviour. People’s immediate reaction to the new situation, e.g. bulk-buying, pantry mindset, introducing "senior hours" in supermarkets.


Medium-term changes in consumer behaviour. Things we are slowly getting used to, e.g. wearing masks, safety measures in shops, no shaking hands.

New Normal

Long-term changes in consumer behaviour. Prevailing patterns after the pandemic is over, e.g. enforced hygiene standards, distancing mindset, untouch points everywhere.

Lockdown? GDI researchers also give presentations online.

GDI CEO David Bosshart will talk about the effects of the Corona crisis on the food, fashion and beauty industry at your online event.