The novel coronavirus and the economic shutdown, have caused changes in the way many shop, eat and communicate. But what many are eager to know is if these changes in consumer behavior are likely to stay? Sabrina Helm Associate Professor in the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Arizona joined Bill Buckmaster on The Buckmaster Show Thursday to address these changing habits.

Dr. Helm said that consumer behavior has been reshaped by fear and health concerns, which is why many are adapting to new technologies such as curbside pickup and online deliveries, in order to keep away from other people. Dr. Helm also said these habits are likely to stay with us for quite a while, as we have to prepare for prolonged physical distancing for maybe one to two years. On the product shortages that we saw in the early days of the pandemic, Dr. Helm said we may not continue to see the panic-buying that we saw earlier in the year, but people are still likely build a “safety stock” of items as long as they can afford it and as long as they have the space.

As people adapt to curbside pickup and in-home delivery Dr. Helm believes these habits are likely to stay for good. Helm said “We see very cautious consumers, depending on how long this current crisis is going to reshape consumers and how they live, how they can earn money and how they are able to spend their money.” Dr. Helm said that different groups of consumers may emerge from the crisis; those focused on their health and well being – often those who still have jobs – and those who may have been laid off or furloughed who’s spending power is limited.

Listen to the full interview below.