As Australia cautiously emerges from the restrictions caused by COVID-19, it is worth considering what lasting changes we may have to learn to live with in the future. Learning from our past experiences and digging deeper into the current situation, below are seven changes which we believe have the potential to endure well beyond the receding of COVID-19 and the arrival of a post COVID-19 crisis new reality.

At the moment I am often asked when Corona “will be over” and when everything will return to normal. My answer is: never. There are historical moments when the future changes direction. We call them bifurcations. Or deep crises. These times are now. The world as we know it is dissolving. But behind it comes a new world, the formation of which we can at least imagine.

Matthias Horx – Futurist



Seven trends of enduring consumer behaviours

Implications for businesses

In a recently released report from the global SAE Group at KPMG our team explored how the varying degrees of risk exposure to COVID-19 necessitate different responses from entities. Those who are facing high degrees of permanent change, combined with a rapid rate of recovery – fall into the surge quadrant. These are industries or companies which have the opportunity to scale post COVID-19 as consumer behaviour that was altered during the crisis is sustained in their favour. At the other end of spectrum there are those entities who face a hard reset, facing high degrees of permanent change, coupled with a slow recovery. These companies post COVID-19 will face into a lowered demand environment and will need to reconsider many aspects of their operations, service and structure in order to re-enter the market.

Infographic of business recovery post-COVID-19

The other two segments are those who are experiencing lower amounts of permanent change, but need to face into either transforming to re-emerge or modifying their business-as-usual position. The modified business-as-usual group, are those businesses that are seen to be essential, may have suffered from initial lockdowns and restrictions, but need to think about which aspects of their changes they maintain and which aspects revert back to normal as they head into a new business reality.

The final sector, is the group of businesses who have the opportunity to transform to re-emerge – these companies face a protracted path to recovery, borne out of business complexities, but with appropriate capital and the appetite to change with customer behaviours they stand to remerge stronger than ever.

As Australia continues to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis and navigate through the various stages of the pandemic from reaction and resilience onto recovery and our new reality – one thing is almost certain, customers will change. It might be convenient to believe that our lives will simply snap back to the way they were before COVID-19, but all customer behaviour, business realities and popular culture discussions point to a different direction.