When COVID-19 swept across the globe, it accelerated the shift towards a more digital world and generated a wide array of new online purchasing behaviours almost overnight.

In early 2021, the decision was made to analyse these pandemic-influenced shopping behaviours across Europe in order to gain a fuller understanding of who today’s consumers really are, what motivates their actions, what they want from their purchasing experience and how professionals can meet their needs and hopefully exceed their expectations.

The results of the study highlighted an exceptional phenomenon: New Commerce.

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Delve into European consumers lives

We’re at the heart of a world that is changing before our eyes.

Jean-Claude Sonet

Executive Vice President, Marketing, Communications and Sustainability GeoPost/DPDgroup

DPDgroup has been on the front line of everything the world has been experiencing since the winter of 2020. On a personal level, as individuals, but also on an industrial level, as these are times of great responsibility and shifting expectations for our professions as delivery experts.

This change is beyond everything we’ve been measuring every year since 2016 with the DPDgroup e-shopper barometer*.

It is a unique moment in its transformative power, its creative potential, its systemic dimension and even, at times, its violence.

It is a moment when all the signals of global, structural transformation are accelerating and escalating. And it is the time we have chosen to initiate a vast Human Centered Design programme to reinforce the importance of the human element in each of our initiatives.

We began by capturing the moment in all its cultural, environmental and social diversity. To grasp, from a human perspective, the foundations of this new reality now manifesting itself in homes, in behaviours,in new uses, values and aspirations. And in slices of life, gestures, reflexes and details that are anything but anecdotal.

To achieve this, experienced ethnologists observed European consumers in their daily lives as they expressed their individual behaviours and relationships with consumption, brands, shops and services via digital and traditional channels across Europe.

We’re at the heart of a world that is changing before our eyes.

Jean-Claude Sonet

Executive Vice President, Marketing, Communications and Sustainability GeoPost/DPDgroup

DPDgroup has been on the front line of everything the world has been experiencing since the winter of 2020. On a personal level, as individuals, but also on an industrial level, as these are times of great responsibility and shifting expectations for our professions as delivery experts.

This change is beyond everything we’ve been measuring every year since 2016 with the DPDgroup e-shopper barometer*.

It is a unique moment in its transformative power, its creative potential, its systemic dimension and even, at times, its violence.

It is a moment when all the signals of global, structural transformation are accelerating and escalating. And it is the time we have chosen to initiate a vast Human Centered Design programme to reinforce the importance of the human element in each of our initiatives.

We began by capturing the moment in all its cultural, environmental and social diversity. To grasp, from a human perspective, the foundations of this new reality now manifesting itself in homes, in behaviours,in new uses, values and aspirations. And in slices of life, gestures, reflexes and details that are anything but anecdotal.

To achieve this, experienced ethnologists observed European consumers in their daily lives as they expressed their individual behaviours and relationships with consumption, brands, shops and services via digital and traditional channels across Europe.

New Commerce:

"Hello DPD" looks at consumer behaviour

Key takeaways

Acceleration

COVID-19 fast-forwarded e-commerce usage among consumers around the world almost overnight, accelerating existing purchasing behaviours and favouring the emergence of new, and at times polarised, online and offline buying behaviours.

Consumerism

“Always More” shoppers are characterised by exacerbated and unrestrained consumerism. They are guided by their emotions. Their purchasing patterns may go so far as to resemble addiction.

Sustainability

Demand for greener initiatives and more sustainable modes of consumption is growing everywhere. All consumers—even those characterised as “Always More”—desire reassurance about the ability of companies to have positive and lasting impacts on social structures, the environment and the economy today while protecting the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Responsibility

“Even Less” shoppers are defined, on the contrary, by their view of slow retail as a form of re-humanised consumption. Frugal buying and favouring local over distant are calls for simpler living.

Contradictions allowed

No single behaviour is an absolute; all behaviours overlap somewhat. “Always More” shoppers may occasionally exhibit “Even Less” characteristics, and vice-versa.