The great consumer shift: Ten charts that show how U.S. shopping is changing

Viewed in McKinsey & Company.

New York City-based management consulting giant McKinsey & Company puts a lot of resources and effort into trying to get out ahead of major trends in global business and commerce, and they are usually very successful at it.


In this report, four McKinsey partners and experts summarize ten trends that they see reflecting demonstrable shifts in American shopping.

Some of these conclusions are fairly self-evident—“digital shopping is here to stay,” “consumers want value for their money,” and “Americans are concerned about going back to regular activities outside the home.” 

But this report is notable and thorough in offering some very new and vital data reflecting ten significant shifting trends and preferences in American shopping.

Flight to online

First, perhaps not surprisingly, millennials and high-income earners are leading the market trend toward online shopping.

Shock to brand loyalty

Second, brand loyalty is taking a hit in this unusual pandemic era. “Consumers are switching brands at unprecedented rates,” McKinsey found. “An astonishing 75 percent of U.S. consumers (are) trying a new shopping behavior in response to economic pressures, store closings, and changing priorities,” the authors write.


The focus of U.S. consumers on health and safety also has understandably risen considerably. “As an example, 79 percent of consumers intend to continue or increase their usage of self-checkout in retail after COVID-19,” they write.

Availability, convenience and value

With these and several additional shifts in shopping trends, McKinsey offers up one of the more insightful, well-researched, and comprehensive summaries of American shopping trends so far in 2020.

It is a valuable contribution in an era of immense volatility in Americans’ consumer shopping patterns and other commercial behaviors in an era of ongoing public health and economic uncertainty.  

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