Six months after the first worldwide Covid-19 lockdowns, we’re taking stock of what it all means for buyer behavior.
We’ve collated 10 insightful facts from large-scale consumer studies conducted by some of the biggest research groups in the world.
Where possible, we’ve separated research studies conducted in the immediate aftermath of Covid’s arrival from those looking back over a longer period.
After all, consumers’ initial reactions were likely to be more extreme than after having lived with Covid for several months. All the stats listed here are from more recent studies, unless highlighted otherwise.
Almost half of consumers are budgeting and choosing more carefully
McKinsey’s 45-country study of consumers included several major western markets hardest hit by the pandemic. In the UK, 32 percent of consumers have changed to less expensive products to save money (31 percent in the US). Around 35 percent of Italians are investing more time researching brand/product choices before buying (21 percent in the US). And in Spain, 45 percent are more mindful of where they spend their money (40 percent in the US).
Mobile sees a spike in shopping as almost half of consumers increase usage
Covid appears to have been a catalyst for omnichannel innovation with more consumers taking advantage of new communications channels. But a PwC study highlights a marked increase in one of the more established: mobile. Apparently, 45 percent of consumers it asked are using mobile devices more as a shopping channel since the outbreak.
Three in five consumers have switched who they buy from
New priorities in service, value and availability have empowered consumers to exercise greater choice. So says the same McKinsey research referenced above. It found that over 60 percent of global consumers have changed shopping behaviors (i.e. new retailer/brand) since Covid-19 began.
88% percent will stick with their newly discovered brands
Research commissioned by Bazaarvoice claims 88 percent of global consumers plan to stay loyal to the new brands they switched to over the course of lockdown, rather than revert back. There are of course many reasons for this, not least the ability of brands to promise a more favorable ‘port in the storm’. And moreover, to then successfully deliver on that promise. This stat reveals how many providers have grasped the opportunity to make a good impression with newly acquired customers.
Personalization and integrity number 1 drivers for loyalty and NPS
Speaking of loyalty, this has been much of the post-Covid focus for KPMG’s research. Specifically, around the role of customer experience on the bottom line. Its global study into 27 national and regional markets found consumers rated personalization as the number 1 driver for customer loyalty. Participants in the study also rated ‘integrity’ as the top driver for NPS (net promoter score).
The majority of ‘big’ purchases are being delayed
GlobalWebIndex has published a new Covid study every few weeks or months since the start. Each time it asks how consumers feel about making ‘big’ purchases, and each time the sentiment is stubbornly negative. In the latest report – available here – 80 percent of consumers say they are delaying big purchases because of the pandemic. But it isn’t all to do with economic uncertainty. Related research also shows consumers are restless to splash out on expensive vacations as soon as they feel safe enough.
“What did you do during the Covid war?” a driver for 40% of future consumer choices
A slightly earlier GlobalWebIndex study explored how the actions (and perceived actions) of brands will impact future consumer behavior. Most consumers have been happy to continue receiving marketing after initial concerns about whether this was insensitive. The really eye-catching stat concerns the 38 percent of consumers who say they will be influenced into future purchases by brands who “helped people during the outbreak” – more than twice as many as focused efforts on contacting customers (17 percent).
9 out of 10 consumers put “resolving my issue” above anything else
KPMG’s global consumer study (cited above) examined post-Covid attitudes to customer service. Unsurprisingly in such testing times, a significant majority (90 percent) continue to regard resolution as their most important customer service issue.
Over 25% of US consumers didn’t find what they were looking for
Google’s contribution to Covid consumer research was the peculiar discovery, 8 weeks in from the initial lockdowns, that many search enquiries weren’t hitting their desired targets. Clearly, with so many people concerned about sourcing basic supplies in the wake of shortages, it was inevitable that many would have difficulties that even web searches couldn’t solve. We were still alarmed to find that more than one-quarter of US consumers couldn’t find the products they wanted or needed online.
Christmas won’t be cancelled (for 75% of consumers at least)
Q4 represents the major revenue-earning period for many retailers, so it’s encouraging to hear that three-quarters of consumers around the world have no plans to reduce spending during Christmas 2020. Thanksgiving and other holidays are set to be similarly unaffected, according to ad agency Rakuten, with many retailers expected to begin Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals early.
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