A new image of the Polish consumer

Attitudes and behavior of Poles in the face of the coronavirus pandemic

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The report „A new image of the Polish consumer” is an attempt to answer the question of how the pandemic has affected the attitudes and behaviour of Poles in six areas: shopping behavior, entertainment, work, transportation services, health and well-being, technology, environment and sustainable development. In addition, it shows the perspective of Polish society in the context of PwC - Global Consumer Insights Survey 2020.

"We are all consumers, and recent months have shown that the world around us, markets and companies, but also we as customers, are no longer the same. Changes in our behaviour have occurred on many levels – not only on the shopping path itself, but also in how we work, the extent to which we use technology, how we select entertainment or how we look after the environment. This involves many challenges for companies. They must not only once again win the confidence of consumers in this new and unpredictable reality, but also ensure the highest quality and availability of their products or services while maintaining a maximum level of care for the health, safety and shopping experience of their customers.”

Krzysztof Badowski, PwC Partner, Head of the Consumer Goods and Retail in CEE / CIS

Selected parts of the report:

Shopping behaviour

For almost all Poles (93%), the prices of products and services are important when selecting what to buy, with as many as 43% indicating that this factor has become more important than before due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the one hand Polish consumers have experienced a drop in income but on the other hand they expect their spending in the coming months to grow. This will certainly affect the purchasing power of our society. Adding to this the fact that in the times of a pandemic, online shopping is appreciated mainly for its convenience and sense of safety and also makes it easy to search for and compare products (also in terms of prices), we can expect this channel to gain importance for producers, distributors and sellers.

Izabela Wisłocka, PwC Manager, Digital Transformation Expert


The pandemic has contributed to only a slight increase in media consumption.
Instant messengers, social media, television and traditional books have won the battle for gaining the attention and time of Poles. These are closely followed by paid streaming services such as Netflix or HBO GO, unpaid streaming services (Youtube) and online editions of newspapers.

However, none of the media has won over a significant number of new users.

During the pandemic, the number of possible options for spending free time has decreased significantly. We will remember 2020 as the year of empty cinemas, closed theatres and cancelled mass events. However, while staying at home, we do not give up on entertainment. As shown by our analyses, a very large number of people decided to use over-the-top (OTT) services, for example streaming services. The size of this market segment amounted to USD 472 million in 2019, and in 2020 it is expected to reach USD 596 million according to forecasts in our report “Outlook for the development of the entertainment and the media sector in Poland in 2020−2024” . This represents an increase of more than 26% and clearly shows which manner of escaping the reality of the pandemic has become popular in our country.

Marcin Sidelnik, PwC Partner, Head of Telecommunication, Media and Entertainment


Remote work gives Poles a sense of safety, and employers are appreciated for allowing it. However, the key disadvantage of remote work is the lack of contact with colleagues. 39% of the respondents prefer working from home, and 25% – from the workplace. Poles are emphasizing that working from home is more environmentally friendly.  1/5 of Poles claims that remote work has enabled them to have a better work-life balance, but 1/4 emphasize that they are working longer hours and more from home. Only 13% of Poles would like to permanently work remotely, and 21% would prefer a hybrid model (several days at home, several days in the office).

Preferences relating to remote work differ depending on age and gender. Age groups which are the most likely to include parents, are decidedly less positive about remote work. On the other hand, in the youngest age group, the hybrid model will continue to be the preferred one even after the pandemic restrictions are lifted. For employers, lockdown should be a time for reflection and an opportunity to change the existing, traditional approach to how we work. Employers should not wait to start implementing flexible work models which take into account their employees’ newly formed preferences which may soon become firmer.

Katarzyna Komorowska, PwC Partner, People and Organization Team in Tax and Legal

Transport services

26% of Poles use their own car more often than before the pandemic, cycling has also gained popularity (1/4 of Poles ride more often than before Covid-19) and walking (as many as 33% of respondents indicate that they walk more often than before the outbreak of the epidemic). The same means of transport are regarded as the safest. On the other hand, public transport and co-sharing have recorded a decrease in popularity and are of greatest concern to Poles.

COVID-19 has strongly undermined various concepts of shared transport and shared mobility. The pandemic has made us realize that own means of transport will continue to lead the market in the immediate future, not only in Poland, but also globally. According to PwC Digital Auto Report 2020 “Navigating through a post-pandemic world” COVID-19 will also have an impact on consumer preferences and the importance of factors which make them use shared transport. In shared mobility, vehicle availability or standard will no longer be of key importance to clients, but will be replaced by regular disinfection and cleaning, the two factors which will overtake even the price criterion when selecting a provider.

Marcin Bagiński, Senior Manager at PwC, Automotive Market Expert


Over than 80% of Poles declare that during a pandemic they focus more on mental health and well-being, as well as on physical health. According to global research, health and well-being are much more important to us than to other societies - we value mental health in 13% more and physical health in 17%. It is worth emphasizing that people in the 65+ category who are in the risk group are those focusing on maintaining their physical health.

Employers, on the other hand, should remember that given the general stress associated with the current situation, it is of utmost importance to maintain a good relationship between the employer and employee. Such a relationship, when it is positive and a source of psychological comfort to the employee, becomes a competitive advantage over companies that do not pay attention to this aspect. In general, investment in the well-being of employees may turn out to be the best strategy to build a competitive advantage and become a valuable offer on a demanding market for talents.

Jolanta Chmielecka, Senior Manager at PwC, HR Lead of the Wellbeing Programme


Poles appreciate technology and how it makes life easier during the pandemic. The impact of technology is visible primarily in private life – it helps us to keep in touch with our family and friends. This is undoubtedly the reason behind the significant increases in the use of messenger apps and social media. In addition, Poles appreciate technologies that enable remote work and education, as well as shopping for daily products.

More importantly, the possibility of arranging official matters via the internet has been recognized by Polish society.

What we can observe on the market is mainly the use of communication platforms, numerous implementations of e-commerce technologies relating to handling shopping processes and engines supporting remote customer service (e.g. workflow). To enable the efficient operation of these solutions, businesses often had to invest in new software, but also prepare themselves on the infrastructure side, to ensure proper performance of the systems, especially in the case of increased volumes. In such circumstances, solutions based on cloud computing work well and have recently been gaining popularity.

Marek Młyniec, PwC Partner, Head of Technology Consulting


The majority of Poles admit that it is important for them to protect and care for the environment even during the pandemic. 3/4 of Poles have declared that, in spite of the difficulties connected with the current situation, they will continue to behave responsibly, in a way that supports the environment.

However, almost one half of the respondents have noticed that during a pandemic, there are issues more important than ecology. Nevertheless, only 1/4 have been selecting less environmentally friendly modes of transport and declared that they no longer care about being environmentally responsible.

Being environmentally responsible is becoming more important for consumers not only in Poland, but also in Europe and globally. This trend seems to be shaping our current reality and becoming ingrained in our DNA, to a smaller or larger extent. At the same time, it creates many challenges not only for companies and organizations, but also for governments around the world. How they operate and how important environmental responsibility and sustainable development are for them is becoming an important factor when selecting product or services or evaluating specific actions.

Agnieszka Gajewska, PwC Partner, Head of CEE Public Sector and Infrastructure, Head of the ESG (Environmental Social Governance) in CEE
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Krzysztof Badowski

Krzysztof Badowski

Partner, Strategy& Poland

Tel: +48 608 333 277

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