From early days of the pandemic to where we are currently, specialists have observed a significant change in consumer behaviours. The world we had known prior to the pandemic has evolved into a new stage of digital era. More importantly, consumer behaviour will continue to shift during our new normal, and these changes will most likely last beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Today we will discuss consumer behaviours during global pandemic and examine how the new normal continues to affect businesses.
Safe shopping experience
Safety above all is the new customer motto. 71% of people now say safety is key when deciding where to shop. Additionally, 40% customers plan to upkeep their online shopping habits post-pandemic. Moreover, data provided by Facebook shows a sharp increase in conversations relating to contactless shopping. Convenience and price may have dominated the customer’s decision-making process but, according to Facebook, safety is likely to be the top factor when it comes to purchases.
As more and more consumers start to shop online, many businesses move towards online shopping, easily accessible websites as well as active and responsive social media channels. However, even if you do not plan to specifically covert your business to an online shop, there is still a lot you can do to ensure fast and safe service. Publishing clear safety guidelines for staff and customers will support your stance as a safe shopping place. Moreover, you can consider introducing arranging shopping appointments and online reservations for customers who would only like to purchase a specific item as opposed to browsing your shop within the traditional opening times.
Shift to mindfulness
Global changes did not just affect shopping. People have adjusted to new ways of living, working and learning. Individuals who did not work or study from home before have been exposed to the remote working and learning. Globally, many people welcomed opportunity to spend more time at home. Practising mindfulness and wellness through diet and meditation apps, workout videos, healthy cooking and personal development has become popular more than ever before. These activities did not only allow people to balance their work and home life but also encouraged them to explore their creative side. In times of fear and uncertainty, people started to seek comfort in discovering and practising things that make them inspired and happy.
Over 50% people say that being able to message a business sets a great sense of connection. Additionally, over half of customers are more likely to purchase from a business they can message on social media. These patterns are likely to become permanent as we look ahead. It is worth noting that Gen Z encompasses 41%. Young audience is known to prefer using online learning platforms, video content, messaging services and devoting more time towards hobbies. These factors are a clear indication towards the future of newly established post-pandemic trends.
Local communities and global unity
As local business are struggling to survive the pandemic, people started expressive a greater sense of local connection online. With people uncertain when whether their favourite establishments will be able to open their doors again, Facebook reported a significant growth in local searches. Clicks on searches for local businesses increased by 23% and local groups on Facebook tripled.
Subsequently, people have become more involved in their role as global citizens. A huge number of people feel more concerned about the pandemic on a global scale than in their own country. Moreover, troughout the global pandemic, many people have experienced the feeling of unity with others bound by similar experiences. Since January, people have donated over £100 million to COVID-19 related fundraisers across Facebook and Instagram.
Witnessing the power of collective action can change the way individual relate to others, resulting in initiating a cultural shift from ‘I’ to ‘we’. This could have a permanent effect on consumer behaviour. Experts say that buyer motivation will short from personal gain towards products, services and experiences that can be shared and enjoyed with others. In short, consumers will become more receptive to brands that demonstrate prosocial behaviour. And so, future marketing strategies will need to show how they benefit society, and not only the individual.
Living brand values
Prior to the pandemic, corporations have got away with simply saying the right things. COVID-19 crisis made people look for evidence of active help as opposed to spreading empty messages. Donations and charity events are being noticed, getting far more attention on social media than any marketing campaign could achieve. Similarly, business who do not treat their employees well or are falling short on showing support to the global community are being called out for their actions.
This reiterates the importance of brand building during the pandemic. People are money-conscious and considerate of the business they buy from. Culture of sustainability, support and global understanding will help brands improve their customer engagement and increase their chances to prosper.
This reiterates the importance of brand-building in the current climate. People are increasingly money-conscious and considerate of the brands they shop with. The businesses living values consumers identify with will prosper.
What can business owners learn from this?
The outline of changes to consumer behaviours during global pandemic helps identify businesses how they can work on their future strategy. Some of the key tips are:
- Create a transparently safe shopping environment. If your business has reopened, ensure that you set and follow appropriate safety procedures.
- Show support to your local community and global causes. Expressing empathy towards your local community and encouraging your customers to support charitable causes goes a long way.
- Consider new ways of promoting your products and services. The emphasis on mindfulness does not mean that you need to change your range of products and services. Instead, think how you can convey your message to appeal to your audience. For example, show how customers can use and share your products and services with family and friends.
- Remain responsive and in touch with your audience. Make sure that your customers can get a prompt response when they message you or comment on your social media channels.
Our analysis has shown how consumer behaviours changed during global pandemic. The current situation has no real comparison point in modern history. This means that historical data is at best incomplete and quite possibly irrelevant. What we do know is that moments of global crisis often reshape cultural values and behaviours. From a marketing perspective, most businesses will need to prepare for a shift in their operational objectives and communication strategy.
Changes can be scary. However, we are here to use our expertise to help your business transform and embrace the new normal. We are experienced in crafting marketing and communication strategies, setting up social media platforms as well as producing social media and website content.
Check out our Services page for more information.