Corona tracking: Optimism is dropping and Belgians are planning for the future

Two times a month, Serviceplan Group publishes the results of their global enquiry about Covid-19’s economic impact in Belgium, in collaboration with PUB. Factors such as the consumers’ mood, habits, purchase behaviour and media usage are analysed through a survey of 600 Belgians aged between 18 and 69.


This week, we’re publishing the results of the study’s third wave, concerning the behaviour of the Belgian consumers during weeks 19 and 20 of the pandemic. This study finds that the consumers are still unsatisfied and feel that brands aren’t taking their needs into consideration. This shows the importance of a more relevant engagement with them, especially since there are opportunities for brands to adapt and take advantage of new trends and habits.

Optimism keeps deteriorating

In the past six weeks, the percentage of people feeling positive or neutral went from 72% to 64%, while the pessimists went from 28% to 36%.

People with a positive view are mainly men, in a relationship or married, highly educated and employed full-time.

27% of belgians think the current isolation measures will last for at least three more months

The number of people who think the isolation measures will last more than three months (up to July) or even more than 6 months (up to October) increased from 17% to 27% in week 19-20, compared to the two previous weeks.

Several habits that were strong in the beginning of the isolation such as contacting friends and family using social media, doing more household chores and cooking have diminished after six weeks. At the same time, other trends are now becoming more relevant: planning for the future, making technological upgrades to the house and sleeping more.

Groceries, sweets & snacks are still the top categories in consumption but other segments also gained relevancy

More than 20% of Belgians have increased consumption of sweets and it remains strong after six weeks, but other categories, such as Non-alcoholic beverages (14% consume more), Alcoholic beverages (11% consume more), and Hardware/DIY/Home improvement (11% consume more), are continuing to gain relevance in the beginning of May (8th week of the isolation).

Increased shift to online purchases except for diy and home improvement products

In weeks 19-20 we observe a significant shift to online purchases for Ladies’ and men’s retail Fashion (40% buy online), Energy and gas supply (37% buy online), Shoes and accessories (36% buy online), Health related products and subscriptions (28% buy online), and Household appliances (23% buy online).

In store purchase is especially significant for beverages, snacks & sweets, groceries, pet food and Hardware/DIY/Home Improvement products, which’s offline share has increased from 33% to 47% as shops reopened. This indicates people’s preference to buy in-store for this category when possible.

Price is still the most important criteria

In the current consumption situation, people pay particular attention to purchase criteria that provide them with the usual security and continuity. 88% of Belgians stated that price is the priority criteria when buying products (vs 84% in the beginning of April).

Quality is the second most important criteria, having 87% of the population considering it important in the beginning of May.

Regional products is favored by 60% of Belgians when making a purchase. This trend has remained strong and stable for the entirety of the period analyzed.

62% believe that service and consultation are important elements, which gained importance in May compared to April.

In order to keep up with customers’ expectations, it is important to remain relevant and transparent. Price, quality, service and regionality need to be highlighted as USPs in the communication in order to be first choice.

Consumers still claim a higher consideration of their needs

The demand for a higher consideration on consumers’ needs remains a strong claim throughout the six weeks of isolation measures. Consumers are still unsatisfied and feel that brands don’t take their needs into consideration.

As the weeks go by, we observe a slight deterioration of trust in the economy to provide all necessary products and in media channels to get information.

There is opportunity to have increased contact with consumers through tv and digital

TV, Digital News, Search engines, Youtube, Instagram and game (app, computer and console) are currently the most important touchpoints with opportunities to have increased contacts with the consumer.

In short

There is a deterioration of optimism and neutrality, with the percentage of pessimists growing significantly. Consumers are still unsatisfied, as they are paying special attention to price and quality when making a purchase and feel that brands don’t take their needs into consideration.

Knowing that the Belgians are planning for the future, making technological upgrades to their house and shifting to online purchase for several categories, there is opportunity for brands to adapt and take advantage of these new trends and habits. Their demand for a higher consideration of their needs shows the importance of a more relevant engagement with them.

Curious for more?

That’s it, we’ve presented all the results of our two-months long Corona Tracking. Thank you for having accompanied us every week.
If you want to know how exactly your brand’s consumers’ purchase behaviour has changed and what you have to do to adapt to their needs efficiently and ensure the survival of your brand through these complicated times, contact us at We’ll gladly set up a date at your best convenience to host a workshop for you and your team, in full compliance of the security measures of course.

Corona Tracking Workshops
  • Find out how your consumers’ media usage and purchase behaviour have changed since the pandemic
  • Know how to adapt efficiently to your consumer’s new needs
  • Plan for your brand’s survival
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