COVID-19 & Changing Consumer Behaviour: What Businesses Need to Know

We have covered a “decade in days” when it comes to the adoption of digital during the COVID-19 pandemic. People and businesses have been forced to innovate and work remotely, and with that brought new consumer behaviours and demands to meet that are likely to remain post-pandemic.

If your business has not yet made a shift to digital — or are still uncertain whether its the right move for you — continue reading to discover how COVID-19 has changed consumer behaviour and ways your business can adapt to these changes to succeed in a post-pandemic world.

Social and Digital Media Usage Has Risen

With more people staying at home, consumers embraced technology and turned to digital to stay connected. In Canada, consumers have been spending an average of 5 hours, 32 minutes on digital. This is a much steeper growth than what was predicted before the pandemic.

COVID-19 resulted in a massive increase in daily social media usage, including a 15.3% daily usage of YouTube and 15.4% daily usage of TikTok (NYTimes). Even Facebook reported a 40% increase in usage on Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp.

More Time on Mobile Devices

70% of global internet users are using their mobile devices more as a direct result of COVID-19. More and more people are getting their information online, resulting in more time spent on mobile devices (Statista).

Data from the Ericsson Mobility Report says that mobile usage has increased an average of one hour per day globally during COVID-19. Advertising engagement on mobile has also increased by 15% (Mobile Marketer).

Online Shopping Has Increased Exponentially

It’s no surprise that online shopping has increased as more people stay at home. It’s no surprise that online shopping has increased as more people stay at home. According to Adobe, online spending in the U.S. reached a whopping $73 billion in June 2020, which is just over 76% increase year-over-year. Furthermore, online spending during COVID-19 has tracked above holiday season levels from 2019.

With this increase, consumers are recognizing the ease and comfort of online shopping and over 40% of people who have shifted to online shopping during the pandemic, say that they will likely continue to shop online even as stores reopen. Consumers are also becoming more comfortable buying from a new brand online, with 73% of shoppers saying they would (NetElixir). Plus, 71% of adults in the U.S say they plan to more of their holiday shopping online this year as e-commerce becomes the new normal (daVinci Payments).

Businesses have seen an overall decrease in in-store shopping frequency, and a larger basket spend as consumers shift to shop at stores closer to home. Shoppers have become more conscious of their spending but also an increased desire to support local businesses.

How Businesses Can Adapt to Consumer Changes

With this data and shift in consumer behaviour in mind, how can your business adapt? Here are five strategies your business can undertake to stay on top:

  • Time to Build Brand Loyalty

Now is the time to build brand loyalty; with more people online and on social media, businesses cannot afford to not be present on these platforms. Start by increasing your brand’s social media usage, building your brand presence by creating quality content, engaging with your target audience, and connecting with your local community via social media platforms.

  • Reshape Your Marketing Plan

Shift some of your marketing resources to digital to ensure that you’re reaching your audience across different channels. Increase your efforts on social media to create more engagement customers; you can offer incentives for first-time buyers on different platforms — from email to social — and ultimately position your business as a trusted brand that consumers can turn to.

  • Set-up E-commerce Capabilities to Meet Demands

To meet the increased demand for online shopping, set-up e-commerce capabilities on your site or ensure that your existing shopping experience meets these demands. As in-store visits continue to decline, you must look for opportunities to sell online. E-commerce experiences must be seamless. Consider omnichannel options, such as click-and-collect or curbside pick-up, to give consumers the option of visiting your brick-and-mortar location.

  • Ensure Great User Experience on Your Website

As mentioned in the previous point, e-commerce experiences must be seamless; otherwise, your website visitors will bounce or abandon their cart. Online shopping experiences must be easy; this goes for both desktop and mobile. By having a great user experience, visitors will stay on your site longer and ultimately be encouraged to convert.

  • Use Incentives to Help Increase Shopping Frequency

The new shopping reality is that consumers are increasing their shopping basket size, but decreasing visits. While increasing your online capabilities for online sales, look at ways to motivate consumers to shop in-store. Consumers want to support local businesses, so look at ways to reach out to your community. Time-limited incentives, such as coupons and promotions, can help get consumers back in your store and increase in-store frequency.

Conclusion

Consumer behaviour changes will ultimately reshape the decision journey, and businesses need to shift to meet demand. Businesses must pivot and innovate to stay on top. Don’t leave your business in the dark.


Originally written for TechWyse.

Posted by

Digital Marketeer & Content Creator from Dublin, Ireland

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