The Consumer Behaviors That Changed Forever in 2020

A new report from Coefficient Capital and The New Consumer reveals how COVID-19 accelerated major shifts in spending and attention, including original survey research from 3,500+ US consumers.

NEW YORK--()--Coefficient Capital, the venture capital firm focused on digitally powered omnichannel consumer brands, has partnered with The New Consumer, the publication about how and why people spend their time and money, to release today Consumer Trends 2021, a new report examining consumer behaviors that were forever changed by COVID-19.

The Consumer Trends report is based on extensive research from a range of proprietary and public data sources. Coefficient Capital and The New Consumer worked with Toluna, Inc. to survey 3,500+ US consumers on their shifting behaviors resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey, conducted in November 2020, asked consumers about their spending habits, consumption patterns and other behaviors related to food & beverage, fitness, alcohol and beauty. Earnest Research, a data analytics firm, also provided custom data on consumer spending and foot traffic for the report.

The report finds that a majority of consumers have adopted new behaviors that they prefer — even as we head into 2021 and vaccines become more readily available — with billions of dollars worth of spending at stake.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated many consumer trends that had been set in motion years ago, including online grocery shopping and at-home fitness,” said Franklin Isacson, Founding Partner at Coefficient Capital. “Consumers now prefer many of these behaviors and don’t want to give them up. Brands will have to make long-lasting changes if they want to succeed in 2021 and beyond.”

The charts from 2020 are some of the most dramatic I’ve ever published,” said Dan Frommer, Founder and Editor in Chief of The New Consumer. “Our goal was to make it easy for people to understand the trends that actually matter, in a slide deck that’s worth bookmarking.”

Some of the Consumer Trends findings include:

COVID-19 drove record e-commerce sales this year and forced new lifestyles and habits. Consumers prefer many of their newly adopted behaviors, suggesting they will continue beyond the pandemic:

  • 52% of Millennials and 44% of Gen. Z prefer online grocery shopping.
  • 81% of Millennials and 50% of Gen. Z prefer working out at home.

Online grocery adoption hit an inflection point in the US in 2020, more than twice its initially predicted volume. And it’s poised to accelerate, further transforming a $1 trillion industry:

  • 36% of Gen. Z and 30% of all consumers say they’ve been shopping for food and beverage online more during COVID-19.
  • Consumers are unbundling their shopping carts, spending with internet-native grocers, delivery apps, and directly with brands. About one fifth of consumers say they prefer to buy food and beverages directly from brands’ websites.

Consumer behavior in beauty and skincare has fundamentally changed, favoring more and smaller brands:

  • Younger consumers are unbundling the legacy beauty industry and using more brands: 48% of Gen. Z say they use four or more brands in their beauty routines, compared to 23% of the Baby Boomer generation.
  • Beauty brand preferences vary by generation: Gen. Z consumers reported using Anastasia Beverly Hills, Fenty, and Kylie, while Millennials reported using Glossier, Charlotte Tilbury, and ILIA.

Home fitness is now the default, and looks like it’s here to stay, with $100 billion in global health club spending up for grabs:

  • 82% of Millennials and 76% of all consumers say they’ve switched to exercising more at home during COVID-19.
  • 81% of Millennials and 66% of all consumers say they prefer it.

Americans love their hard seltzer, and low- and no-alcohol drinks have become part of many COVID-era routines:

  • 45% of Millennials say they’ve been drinking hard seltzer during COVID-19.
  • 36% of Millennials say they’ve been drinking canned cocktails.
  • 24% of Millennials say they’ve been drinking non-alcoholic beer.
  • 22% of Millennials say they’ve been drinking non-alcoholic spirits.

The future of consumer starts small:

  • Emerging communities that were initially considered niche, such as keto and plant-based, now have followings in the millions.
  • 12% of Americans said they had tried the keto diet in the past two years, according to previous Coefficient Capital research.
  • Oat milk was the fastest growing food category at retail during COVID-19, according to Nielsen.
  • 30% of Gen. Z and Millennials have tried oat milk in the past six months.

About Coefficient Capital:

Coefficient Capital is a venture capital firm that leads early-stage investments in consumer brands that bridge digital and physical channels. Launched in 2019 with an oversubscribed $170 million fund, Coefficient Capital partners with high-growth, digitally-powered consumer brands. With experience backing the biggest names across CPG and technology companies, the team provides its portfolio with unique insights to support growth in both online and offline worlds. Current investments include NomNom, Hydrant, Magic Spoon and Haus, among others. For more information, visit

About The New Consumer:

The New Consumer is a publication about how and why people spend their time and money, founded in 2019 by longtime technology and business journalist Dan Frommer. Subscribers will be able to access exclusive deep dives into many Consumer Trends 2021 topics. For more information, visit

About Toluna:

Toluna delivers real-time consumer insights at the speed of the on-demand economy. With a commitment to leading by technology innovation, Toluna revolutionizes market research and empowers clients with the agility to instantly conduct quantitative and qualitative research. By combining global scale and local expertise with innovative digital solutions and award-winning research design, Toluna helps clients explore tomorrow, now.

Toluna is the parent company of Harris Interactive Europe and KuRunData. Together, we strive to push market research toward a better tomorrow.


For Media Inquiries:
Max Lifton
Moxie Communications


For Media Inquiries:
Max Lifton
Moxie Communications