What Consumers Want Most After Lockdown: Human Connection

Criteo research and data shows that after months of being advised not to get close to other humans, many people are yearning to connect again.
Updated on September 14, 2020

Social distancing has been the status quo in most of the world for over four months. Many of life’s daily activities moved indoors and online lifestyles like video calls, ecommerce shopping, and remote learning replaced a lot of everyday traditions.

Now that the majority of official lockdowns are over, what are people doing? And what do they want to be doing more of?

From May 13-29, Criteo surveyed over 13,000 consumers who experienced complete or partial lockdowns in the past few months across 12 countries. What we’ve seen is that, after months of being advised not to get close to other humans, many people are yearning to connect again.

Meeting With Co-Workers, Relatives, Dates, and Friends

After months of social distancing, many people really want to be in the same space as others. According to our survey, a sizable chunk of the population says they are already doing some social activities or are comfortable engaging in them again ASAP1.


Many are ready for returning to an office (36%), especially older generations:

  • Gen Z (27%), Millennials (33%), Gen X (42%), Boomers & Silent (40%)

Over a third (35%) want to be visiting relatives:

  • Gen Z (34%), Millennials (34%), Gen X (35%), Boomers & Silent (34%)

Three in 10 (31%) around the world want to be dating, and older age groups lean even higher:

  • Gen Z (30%), Millennials (30%), Gen X (33%), Boomers & Silent (32%)

Globally, 30% of respondents want to be hanging out with friends:

  • Gen Z (35%), Millennials (31%), Gen X (30%), Boomers & Silent (27%)

The Quality-Time Products Spike

Criteo’s product category-level data shows that consumers have been purchasing items that help them stay connected with their loved ones and peer groups ever since lockdowns began.

Toys & Games

As we reported earlier this year, products that help bring the family together through shared activities, like jigsaw puzzles, have seen record sales.

Educational Software & Hardware

With the rise of distance learning, products that help students stay connected to classmates and teachers, like Wireless Access Points, Audio & Video Cable Adapters, USB & FireWire Hubs, laptops, and monitors, rose—in addition to computer programs.


Webcams have also surged due to the growing work- and school-from-home trend, as well as a desire to create as-real-life-as-possible gatherings with loved ones.

The Industry of Connection is Strong

People want to be together no matter what and will keep finding ways to connect. As holiday season 2020 approaches, this is an important aspect of the human experience to keep in mind.

Products that help keep friends, family, and peers connected will continue to be popular even as people ease back into a world with less and less social distancing. Should there be a resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall, these items will prove even more important to consumers.

For more on what to expect from evolving shopper behaviors in the coming months, download our 2020 Rebound Report:

1Criteo “Peak to Recovery” Consumer Survey, Global, May 13-29 2020, n=13532.

2Indexed weekly sales, compared to average from Jan 1-28, 2020.

Michelle Pruett

As Global Head of Content at Criteo, Michelle leads a high-performing, multi-disciplinary team of marketers packaging insights, copy, design, and video into integrated campaigns. Her own writing has been featured in Entrepreneur, Business Insider, AdWeek, eMarketer, and more. Before joining the ...

to our newsletter

Fresh sales trends and consumer insights to help
you plan and win.