The Impact of COVID-19 on Consumer Behaviour Around the World – An Analysis by Rakuten

  • Research by Rakuten Insight and Rakuten shows how the pandemic and its restrictions affected consumer behaviour in the areas of entertainment, reading, messaging and shopping.

Luxembourg, April 28, 2021 – The world we live in has been drastically changed since COVID-19 emerged. Lockdowns, restrictions and limitations of daily life have been a means to contain the pandemic and have changed people’s everyday lives. Starting in January 2021, Rakuten Insight conducted research among 7,000 consumers across 14 markets, including the U.K., U.S. and countries across Asia, to see the impact of COVID-19 on consumer behaviour. Here are the results.

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Watch. Entertainment has been an important part of consumer’s lives during the pandemic. The research shows an increase in the consumption of entertainment content on streaming platforms such as Netflix (increased by 35%), Amazon Prime (increase by 20%) and Rakuten TV (increased by 10%) since the emergence of the pandemic, as people are watching movies more regularly. The main difference was the medium on which content was consumed: While in the U.K. and the U.S. the television is the main device on which consumers watch content, the smartphone wins in countries across Asia, especially in China.

Read. In most countries surveyed, time spent reading has increased by 70%. The smartphone took the number one spot overall on the list of popular devices used for reading, followed by (traditional) books, tablets and eReaders. Some companies, like Rakuten Kobo, offer options to install apps on smartphones and tablets to get the same reading experience as on an eReader.

Chat. While it is not a surprise that video call time has greatly increased by up to 50% in some countries, it is interesting to note that Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. have not reported a change in the time spent on video calls. In the same countries, social media usage has also neither majorly increased nor decreased in the same period.

Shop. The role of online shopping has come into focus since the first lockdowns in March 2020, when retailers had to shutter their stores and shift their sales activities to online distribution. The amount of people shopping online every day, weekly and monthly has increased since the first lockdowns, while the number of people shopping less frequently or not making any online purchases has decreased. Once again, the smartphone proves its important role, as it is frequently used for online purchases.

It is unclear, how the world will evolve, but Covid-19’s influence on consumer behaviour has already paved the way for a new normal. Rakuten will continue to share the good things in life – like great films on Rauten TV, deals on the marketplace in France, our shopping platforms in in Spain and Germany, its membership platform Club Rakuten in the U.K., popular reads on Rakuten Kobo and connections through Rakuten Viber – to make the time more rewarding. Discover Rakuten here.