The Post-COVID business environment will prove to be remarkably different for all industries worldwide. The significant repercussions on urbanization, globalization, and foreign trade will take years or perhaps decades to unfold. Meanwhile, brands are more focused on understanding customer behavior, wants, and needs to stand out in the post-COVID business world.
The year 2020 has brought in some major transformations including a shift in consumer behavior. All brands across every sector of the economy must be cautious to not overreach with drastic changes to their customer interactions, as they may end up jeopardizing and alienating customers who are slower to adjust to the new post-pandemic reality.
Here are some ways that consumer behavior is evolving in the post-pandemic times and the standout trends to watch out for in 2021.
Surge in Online Shopping
As all the nations had imposed lockdown with social distancing in place, there was a massive surge in online shopping and the mass adoption of digital-based shopping customer behaviors like curbside pickup, restaurant deliveries, grocery, and BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store).
Listen to the Podcast: Interview With Alex Timlin SVP Verticals at Emarsys
According to a survey conducted by Global Web Index in 2020, almost 50% of respondents said they are not willing to visit stores for some more time or perhaps even a long time.
According to Alex Timlin, the Senior Vice President of Verticals at Emarsys, “… in terms of technology buyers, I think the most interesting thing that happened in 2020 was 46% of people that we measured across more than a billion consumer interactions where people making their very first purchase from that brand. So, 46% of sales in 2020 happened from people who making their first-ever online sale with that brand.”
Customers are Concerned
Since the pandemic hit, it’s been a worrying period for customers across the globe. As per recent research by Ernst and Young, four kinds of consumer segments have been identified during the crisis. Also, five ways how businesses could transition to post-coronavirus spending habits. These include a spectrum from carefully extravagant spenders who are waiting for the lockdown to get lifted to customers who continue to cut down on spending amidst unemployment and economic uncertainty. That being said, customer concern is genuine and brands are expected to accommodate it.
Due to the global pandemic outbreak, customers are looking out for ways to curb the spread of the virus with practices such as usage of gloves while shopping in-stores, moving to online purchasing to reduce physical interaction with each other, and so on. Moreover, it also resulted in some trends towards contactless payments like tap credit cards and e-wallets. These are now popular means of payment for many stores and their customers. Until the pandemic is completely under control, these safety measures will be in place for a long time and may remain even after the crisis is over as with customers prioritizing their safety.
Communications Go Virtual
As the government announced lockdown and social distancing, virtual meetings and video conferencing tools have taken the top position in the business world. A survey by eMarketer shows that amidst the pandemic more than 47% of U.S. adults connected with family and friends using FaceTime, 44% used Facebook Messenger, and 31.5% turned to Zoom instead of in-person social interactions.
As people are now accustomed to virtual interactions and the convenience they offer, these tools will stay for a longer period of time in social settings. This helps brands to engage with their customers and build stronger customer relationships.
Shifting Attitudes to Privacy
A massive change has been observed in consumer sentiment regarding their privacy amid the global pandemic. According to eMarketer, over 58% of U.S adults are willing to share location and 84% of health data to prevent the spread of the virus. On the flip side, over 80% are worried about how their data will be used in post-COVID times. Therefore, brands must be aware and sensitive to customer uncertainty toward the collection of data and targeting, particularly in the immediate outcome of the crisis.