5 Implications of COVID-19 on Customer Behaviors Business Leaders Should Know

  • Aruel M. Cortes
  • |
  • 3
  • min. read

When COVID-19 struck, it brought the world to its knees and no country was spared.

Since its first diagnosis, COVID-19 has evolved into a pandemic at unprecedented speed and scale. At the time of writing, it has already spread to more than 200 countries with 17.9 million confirmed cases and 687,000 deaths globally according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

COVID-19 has brought economies around the world to a distressed level. According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), they estimated world trade to fall between 13 percent and 32 percent in 2020. Estimates indicate that the global economic growth could be trimmed by 3 percent to 6 percent based on the latest Congressional Research Service report. In the U.S. alone, more than 100,000 businesses are closed forever since it escalated in March.

Implications of COVID-19 on human behaviors and businesses

COVID-19 has a profound impact on every human experience. It has changed the behaviors and attitudes of customers and employees at scale. According to Accenture, there are 5 implications to expect from people’s behavior and have deep implications for all organizations.

  1. Cost of confidence
    As the understanding of the inherent characteristics of the virus is evolving and impacts of the crisis are shifting, our futures remain uncertain. This uncertainty erodes confidence in almost everything and makes trust more important than ever before. Therefore, companies will need to focus to build reassurance and confidence through every channel. Running end-to-end customer experience audit, road-mapping the need for product and services using personas and journeys, and remodeling marketing are some of the actions to be undertaken.
  2. The virtual century
    This virus has enforced a seismic shift to learning, working, transacting, consuming, and socializing virtually. Technological adoption is accelerated in no time as the world goes virtual, proving that what we thought could not be done virtually, now can. Many companies have achieved a successful transition to remote work and engage customers virtually, albeit not a long-term panacea. Therefore, companies and brands need to rethink their customer engagement strategy, understanding the right amount and combination of online and offline.
  3. Every business is a health business
    We are now realizing the unreliability of existing health structures. Hence, we will be preoccupied with health as a priority even after this crisis is over, paving the way for the health economy to emerge and dominate. This will create opportunities for companies to move into spaces adjacent to their core business to deliver and be part of a health ecosystem.
  4. The retreat to safe space – “home”
    Home is the new melting pot of life and human experience. As communities are locked down and travel is limited, we are forced to stay home where there is the least threat and safest. People will take a more local mindset, spending more domestically. So companies will have to angle products and services including the messaging to be part of the domestic scene.
  5. The reinvention of authority
    This pandemic will cause a reset of the way authorities are meant to behave. Governments are leading the crisis response as they should. If they get it right, they will be seen as effective. Companies and brands are being tested too in their humanity and values. They must do the right thing now and measure the impact by how much they can help their employees, customers and community where they work and live.

Call to action

With changes happening rapidly, business leaders need to act now. They should commit to the continuous process of understanding changes in customer behavior and pivot to new ways of working wherever the business is located and whatever its customer base.

Until we have the vaccine, there is no end in sight. The virus does not discriminate, affecting any person and business with widely varying outcomes. Companies and business leaders who are on the “wait and see” mindset will find themselves in a difficult situation when things settle down and the new normal comes in.

At CORTELO, we help companies address critical challenges and find opportunities through our customized consulting approach as well as help equip the sales & marketing team to achieve high performance through curated training & workshop. Let’s talk. Book a free consultation.


  1. Accenture. COVID-19: 5 New Human Truths that Experiences Need to Address. 2020
  2. Congressional Research Service (CRS). Global Economic Effects of COVID-19. July 24, 2020 Update.
  3. Long, H. Small business used to define America’s economy. The pandemic could change that forever. Washington Post. May 13, 2020
  4. World Health Organization COVID Dashboard. August 3, 2020
  5. World Trade Organization. Press Release. April 2020

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