#Market Strategy — 09.02.2021

New consumption habits in a post-lockdown world

Investment Themes 2021



The new breed of younger consumers purchase differently today: they like to shop and spend time online. In addition, they are often more interested in having an experience than owning a tangible good. This phenomenon is also serving the sharing economy.

Due to the Covid-19 crisis, a new 'home-based' consumption trend has accelerated towards more
e-commerce, cocooning, do-it-yourself (DIY), gardening, healthy living, the care of animals and so on. There is significant pent-up demand, as households were not able to spend as per normal during lockdown. This very demand is about to be unleashed and vaccines could be a potent catalyst. 


This equity theme is targeted at dynamic investors who want to profit from new global consumption habits.

This theme can be played with individual stocks, many of which are large caps and thus very liquid. On the other hand, some of these new habits are still in their infancy and will thus require diversification and/or more time to reach full potential. Therefore, funds, trackers and structured products represent other investment solutions for gaining exposure to this theme.

Finally, bear in mind that various new trends in streaming, music, gaming, online shopping, and e-payments are more mature and profitable in Asia, and promise greater potential than in the West. Above all, we recommend global diversification. 


The key to success is online presence

Amazon and other established online merchants are enjoying runaway success. Traditional retailers have realised that in order to attract (and retain) young consumers, they must provide an attractive online offering. The e-commerce market continues to expand at a rapid pace, driven by the new hyper-connected generations. A host of traditional retailers are reinventing themselves. For instance, Wal-Mart, an American mass-market retailer, has rolled out an appealing online offering, whereas Marks & Spencer, a British food and apparel store, has been slow off the mark.


Welcome home cocooning!

The Covid-19 crisis has ushered in new consumption habits. People have had to find novel ways to entertain themselves at home, due to mass closures of shops, restaurants, cinemas, amusement parks and other outdoor leisure hubs. Consumers have discovered a new range of products and services on the web.

Furthermore, individuals who were reluctant to buy online for security (or other) reasons have now been ensnared in the web. This trend of purchasing online has accelerated and is set to continue. E-commerce, streaming, video gaming, and e-sports are reaching a widening audience.

Just as they do for traditional products, smart companies participating in these new consumption trends regularly create new updated products for consumers who want to remain ahead of the game. In e-gaming, Sony has recently launched its PlayStation 5 (PS5) and Microsoft has rolled out the all-new Xbox Series X console. Game developers are also launching sequel after sequel of their top franchises.

Online retailing and streaming require an investment in infrastructure and services, including e-payment systems and efficient logistics for physical and online delivery.

In the physical world, against the backdrop of the Coronavirus pandemic, consumers have set about improving their ‘habitats’. Some have decided that their city-centre abode is too small and have moved to the suburbs in search of more living space or a garden. As a result, DIY, gardening, furniture and interior decorating stores have been deluged with customers. Others yearn for (more) company and purchase a pet. Besides improving their mental wellbeing, dog owners for example have discovered that walking their new furry friend is also good exercise, enabling them to lead a healthier life. 


Healthy living

Having an animal around the house can be beneficial for one’s health, and gives pet lovers an additional focus, especially during lockdowns. This fad is not new. City-dwellers have started to spend increasing chunks of their money on keeping their new animal companion content. Moreover, numerous white-collar workers have sedentary jobs. When they do get out to partake in leisure activities, a prime focus is their health, so they often join a fitness club or practise another sport.


The rise of the Asian middle class

In China, it is estimated that the middle class now outnumbers the entire American population! In India and other emerging markets, the middle class is also fast expanding on the back of swelling salaries. This means that after paying for their basic consumption needs, the up-and-coming in Asia have enough cash to spend on discretionary items, including luxury goods, sport equipment, (electric) cars and branded beverages.


  • Traditional retailers are facing strong competition from ‘pure players’ in the online space. Indeed, some of them have been slow to adapt. Even top luxury brands have taken steps to sell their products via the Internet.
  • While some online vendors/service providers enjoy booming business, many others are fast disappearing from the scene.
  • Even in e-commerce, competition is fierce, and new entrants take longer to become profitable and/or sometimes do not find the right skilled workers to propel their expansion, or because they are not willing to pay the necessary costs. 
2021 Investment Themes

Our 10 Investment Themes for 2021