Within the span of the outbreak of COVID-19 world has changed and also how it works. Now we are playing catch up with the new world we are not entirely familiar with but it’s different from what it used to be that’s for sure.
The economy is dangling between a cliff and a ditch. Getting everything normal again is a farfetched dream. So? Let’s adapt and see closely how COVID-19 has affected consumer behavior.
What people purchase has always been a flicking flame that is affected by even the slightest of breeze, and COVID-19 is a storm that has done more than just change.
Within the course of the spread of COVID-19, most of the population under lockdown with only television and internet providing news and information has been experiencing a quandary, which is how much of the information is true. This thing alone affects buyers the most because they don’t know what and how much to buy?
While some industries are and will likely remain at the receiving end of the shortcomings and some will grow due to a shift in the spending habits.
Considering the Spending Behavior of Buyers:
When we talk about spending money or buying, there are some factors which are behind it, and these factors change accordingly.
Intent – the intent of buying is an important factor and differs according to social standing, need gender, profession, etc. A 4A’s research involving 1000 consumers in March-April tells that intent of purchase remains consistent.
Gender difference– there was seen a drift in purchase intent of both genders when buying streaming services, electronics, wellness equipment, or investment. Beauty and personal care products were bought by people earning more than $45,000 or more.
Big purchase benefits– some buyers are taking the benefit of a slow market and making big purchases like automobiles, devices, appliances, 24% buyers are benefiting from the incentives, also with lots of time on hand, buyers are doing thorough research to decide what to buy. 21% are waiting to shop personally rather than online.
40% of consumers agreed they will go through major purchases only when the outbreak is under control in their areas.
Trust Towards a Brand- In times like this when a buyer has no longer the liberty to go through lots of options and explore, 70% of buyers are turning towards the brands they know and trust.
Global pandemic COVID-19 has given birth to new trends. Now the priorities of the average buyer are based on BASIC NEED. Digital commerce has seen a boost but so has local markets.
- Increasing focus on health – This trend will be followed long after the post-pandemic. Buyers will likely spend more on their health care than on entertainment or any other leisure.
- Conscious consumption – People have become conscious about everything they consume and indirectly of what they buy. Impulsive buying is not part of the market now after the ease in lockdown. Sustainable goods need-based purchase, organic alternatives are all results of this consciousness.
- Go local- With the lockdown, consumers were confined in places and were forced to turn to local markets which were not all bad. Due to this consumers acknowledged the importance and benefits of local shopping. The result of this is that many local brands also got recognition and consumers got more options. It is a good way to strengthen local markets.
Global Pandemic has changed the way of living forever. The way we travel, work, play, and relax everything has changed and so has the way we buy.
No Travel for a While
Naturally, the first industry to take the brunt was the travel industry and is still under duress. With the ease in the regulations, consumers are traveling on strictly need to be based. 41% of global consumers have canceled or delayed their holiday and vacation plans.1 out of 4 buyers has delayed or canceled flights.
Increased Demand for Sanitizing Products
Pandemic has made us all aware of the importance of sanitizing ourselves and surroundings and it has shown its effect on the demand for hygiene products. Consumers have been keeping stocks of hygiene products whenever they can and will continue to do so. Hygiene practices have been one of the biggest lessons this pandemic has made us learn and forced to follow. Sanitizers and hand washes have been the top priority purchase of consumers.
45% of consumers are struggling to buy face masks and 30% are struggling to buy hand sanitizers
No Touching and Shopping
With the threat of the COVID-19 virus surviving to a minimum of few hours on most of the surfaces, there is no way we can shop like we used to. Here, virtual shopping tools are very much in trend and used across online shopping platforms.
A Rise in Demand for Medical Supplies
Before the pandemic consumers were reliant on over the counter drugs excessively and after the pandemic, it has only increased. Especially keeping the chance of lockdown any moment in mind medical supplies, common drugs, etc are a priority purchase of the consumers.
Consumers are Shopping for Local and Logical
Pandemic gave us a pause. Consumers reflected more on what they spend on how they spend and where they spend it? It is also essential in these times. Local markets and goods ensure cost-effectiveness and quality. Consumers are also spending wisely ensuring to spend only what they need rather than want.
56% of consumers are buying from local markets and 845 of them are planning to continue with this habit in near future. This also garners a preference for the local community and economy. Food and resources wastage is being avoided by buying smartly.
Virtual is the New Normal
Virtual has been the world’s reality from the past 6 -8 months, from work to play and from entertainment to shopping. Consumers are working, meeting, playing, courting, learning, entertaining, exercising, and getting self haircuts, etc. online. Everything you can think of has been turned into its version of online. This effects how we shop to a great extent. More and more people started shopping online.
Tools like virtual try-on for apparel, accessories are one such method that has helped consumers a lot in deciding what to buy.
Online shopping has seen a growth in this year due to lockdown. When there is a need consumers find new ways to shop. This pandemic made older generations those who have been wary of online shopping realize the need to learn and utilize the technology. Online grocery shopping is being practiced by many seniors due to lockdown and their own incapability to get their essentials.
Avoiding Eating Out
Restaurants, bars, and food outlets are all facing a drop in business. With the ease in lockdown regulations, eating out is still not preferred by 50% of the population at all. Yes, take away and online delivery is keeping businesses afloat but it cannot put up with the business coming in consumers would give.
Also, people prefer to cook more rather than getting food from outside.
60% of consumers in a study in April- March 2020 admitted not to eat out indefinitely.
Initial stages of pandemic and lockdown were panic-driven and people were excessively stocking up on groceries or anything they could get their hands on. After time and little self-reflection consumers started stocking up groceries a little more wisely. This gave benefit to both local markets and online grocer suppliers.
Consumers are resorting to whatever platform they find suitable for themselves.
Apart from health, safety and finances are also amongst the top priorities of consumers. Financial investments and stability have been a top priority of the consumers in the last few months.
Retail consumers are still wary to step into stores.
Safety Measures are Important
During recent conditions, consumers are opting retailers, and places that have safety and hygiene maintaining measures like physical barriers, use of cleaning agents, better discipline for the social distancing norms.
Also, the brands and products which have extra physical barriers for safety measures are being preferred.
51% of Indian consumers chose products with healthy and hygienic packaging.
Another major shift is consumers are avoiding crowded stores even if they need to walk the extra mile.
Even if the shopping is done from store doorstep delivery or picks and drop services are being opted by the consumers.
Heightened Media Consumption
With the population locked up in homes with nothing to entertain themselves with the increase in media usage and screen time has gone to the seventh sky. Online platforms have seen an immense rise in the business. Consumers are readily spending on subscriptions to these entertainment platforms for their entertainment and relaxing. Well, how much relaxing consumers will be able to do with the increased screen time is yet to see.
Brand and Business Morals
This pandemic if not anything else has made the population conscious of everything around them. This includes the brands and the products they use. This year we witnessed not only a pandemic but also many social issues and movements brought into light with many unfortunate events.
Consumers are aware and act according to how the business treats its employees, local communities, and the environment. It is to pay attention that how the business treats its workers, what morals and actions they follow during a pandemic is going to be remembered long after the pandemic is over.
Luxury Will Have to Wait
The luxury business has to suffice with the fact that apart from a meager percentage they will have to pass the pandemic with a bag of salt.
Consumers have decided that now is not the time to spend on any unnecessary luxury. Its better to save today than to spend on luxury.
The New Way to Pay
Pandemic forced us to find ways to make everything as much contact less possible. Payment involves rotation of contact from one person to another and poses a great threat of transmission through the contact payment means.
Consumers have made it their way to go cashless as much as possible.
Recalling Old Habits While Adopting New Ones
Pandemic has stayed more than it needs to change human habits. With the constraints of a pandemic, some habits had to be given up by consumers while also had to adapt new ones to ensure they survive this pandemic with the least scathing.
Habits like essential buying, multi benefactor, and multipurpose products are chosen over popular or fancier alternatives. Online shopping, learning, teaching, and the overall increase in dependency on technology is the new habit. Personalized services like saloons, beauty services are all pursued through renewed vigor of sanitizing and safety measures but also through online self-guiding sessions
45% of global consumers admitted that they have purchased extra grocery supplies and drinks.
How consumers buy is greatly affected by environmental and socio-economic norms and it will continue to evolve and adapt in the coming year.
Also, Read: Enhance Brand Reputation Even in COVID Pandemic
What to Do as a Brand to Attract Customers?
The best that a brand can do to attract its customers is by supporting them in the best possible way. The COVID time is quite dark for all of us and the brand can create a trust factor in their customers by changing their marketing strategies and coming up with ideas that benefit their customers. Just be a little more sensitive while planning your marketing strategies. Because almost 56% of the users are looking for the initiatives taken by brands. So, it’s the best time to be present and communicates with your customers.
If you still find yourself stuck at forming the best brand strategy, you can contact a Digital Marketing Consultant Today…