Foresight on Demand (FOD) Impact of COVID-19 on European Consumer Behaviour - Foresight Study

The purpose of the study was to anticipate future challenges for consumer policy and to assess likely resilience of private consumption in the EU to future systemic disruptions and major economic shocks. In the project, the FOD team combined literature and data-based information collection as well as expert input with perspectives from stakeholders and experts on consumer policy in order to develop alternative scenarios and analyse the respective challenges for consumer rights and protection. A special focus was on the relation of consumer behaviour, rights, and markets to the Green Deal and the Digital Agenda. Furthermore, a gap analysis was carried out to be better prepared for mid- and long-term effects of the COVID-19 crisis on consumer behaviour and consumer markets as well as possible effects of other disruptions on consumption patterns and choices.

The aim was to give orientation for policy deliberation on the need for additional actions beyond the New Consumer Agenda. Furthermore, the Foresight activities introduced additional capacity in consumer policy to cope with future challenges and bolster consumer resilience.

The future scenarios developed in participatory foresight workshops with stakeholders were presented at the European Consumer Summit 2022.

The presentation was given by Prof. Dr. Jakob Edler and the corresponding video is available here.


By combining scoping and scanning with scenario creation and gap analysis, the process provided a forward-looking analysis of the possible medium and long-term effects of the COVID-19 crisis on consumer behaviour, consumer markets and thus inform a forward-looking and resilient policy response.

Specifically, the study created alternative, plausible futures and use them to assess consumers’ behaviour and consumption patterns on two levels:

  • how consumers’ behaviour may adjust/stabilize post COVID-19 in the aftermath of the pandemic as regards post-COVID consumption patterns and preferences i.e. the transition to some sort(s) of ‘new normal’
  • how consumers response may react to other systemic disruptions in the future based on lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic