The outbreak of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on consumer shopping behavior. Consumers are now shifting towards shopping online due to concerns over social distancing and health concerns. Additionally, people have become increasingly price-conscious in light of the economic uncertainty due to the pandemic. Consumers have also become more cautious about their spending and are now more likely to look for better deals. Consumers are also gravitating toward essential items. This includes staples such as canned goods, dry food items, cleaning supplies, and health and safety items. Consumers are also buying more frozen and prepared food items, for both convenience and safety

In many countries, there has been an increase in the purchase of locally produced and locally sourced food items. This is because consumers are looking to support their local economy and are looking for more safe and more secure food sources. The pandemic has also led to an increase in online shopping. Consumers are now turning towards online stores for convenience, safety, and better deals. This has been a major driver for e-commerce business growth during the pandemic.

Overall, the pandemic has had a significant impact on consumer shopping behavior. Consumers are shying away from physical stores and are turning to online platforms for their shopping needs. 

Getting to know the consumer in crisis

The COVID-19 crisis has had a significant impact on consumers. As such, it is important for businesses to understand the needs and behavior of their customers during this time. Firstly, it is important to understand the financial implications of the crisis – many people may have adjusted their spending due to fear of job loss or salary cuts, and businesses need to adjust accordingly

Secondly, it is important to understand the product or service needs of the consumer during the crisis. Consumers may be purchasing more essential items and looking for deals to get the most out of their money. Understanding the needs of the consumer can help guide the marketing strategy and product/service offerings of the business. Thirdly, it is important to understand the consumer’s preferred mode of shopping. Many consumers have shifted to online shopping platforms due to social distancing, convenience, and safety. Businesses should focus on providing a good online experience to ensure that customers are happy and returning

In understanding the consumer in crisis, businesses should strive to understand the needs of their customers and adjust their marketing and product/service offerings accordingly. Understanding consumer behavior can help create opportunities in such unprecedented times.

New consumer buying behaviors post-COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak is changing why, what, and how consumers purchase. Consumer priorities have shifted to prioritize the most fundamental requirements, driving up demand for hygiene, cleaning, and staples products and driving down demand for non-essential categories. As the “buy local” trend gains momentum, so are the factors that affect brand choices. As more people shop for groceries online, digital commerce has also experienced growth. This trend is likely to continue after the outbreak.

Our need for the necessities of life takes precedence in these circumstances. It should come as no surprise that the consumers we polled prioritize their own health above that of their friends and family. Other top priorities included financial security, personal safety, and security of the food supply and medical care. Beyond buying behaviors, online service offerings have also seen an upswing. Telemedicine and online doctor appointments, curbside pick-up services, and digital banking are just some of the services that have been embraced in response to the virus.

Shopping Behavior

Shifting trends in shopping habits

Customers are expected to prioritize value, convenience, and safety when making purchases. Brands should keep up with the shifting trends to ensure they remain competitive as the market continues to evolve. Here are some of  the ways that customer behavior is likely to shift:

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL): 

The trend of buy now, pay later seems to be gaining traction amongst customers looking to save money on their purchases during uncertain economic times. Businesses should offer BNPL solutions such as Afterpay, Klarna, and Laybuy to customers to make their purchases more affordable and increase sales. This also allows customers to break their payments up over a period of time, making it easier on their wallets. Whether BNPL will become as entrenched as credit cards is another question. 

Loyalty Programs:

Loyalty programs have historically been a great incentive for customers to shop with certain brands. During the pandemic, many brands have shifted their loyalty programs to digital-only which has increased customer engagement and retention. Businesses should focus on offering loyalty programs that benefit their customers and help keep them engaged in the long run. These programs should also be tailored to meet the customers’ needs, while also being cost-effective for the business.

Social Media Presence:

Social media marketing is an important tool for businesses to reach their customers. During the pandemic, businesses are relying on digital platforms to stay connected and promote their products and services. Businesses should focus on creating engaging digital content that resonates with their customers and keeps them engaged. It is also important to monitor customer sentiment and feedback on social media to stay on top of customer needs and wants. 

Online Shopping & Delivery:

The pandemic has made staying home the new norm, and as a result, many customers are relying on online shopping, delivery, and pickup services. Businesses should focus on providing a seamless and secure online shopping experience. Consumers are becoming more comfortable with online shopping, as evidenced by the rise in e-commerce purchase rates due to lockdowns and other restrictions. Brands should also consider offering convenient delivery and pickup services for customers who do not want to leave their homes. 

Delivery services are becoming more popular as customers look for ways to get the products they need without coming into contact with other people. Brands should provide contactless delivery services such as contactless delivery methods and contactless returns solutions.

Contactless Payment: 

Contactless payment solutions, such as mobile payment solutions, are becoming more popular as customers focus on avoiding contact. Brands must provide a secure and easy solution to help customers avoid contact with cashiers and machines. Such payment methods can provide both customers and businesses with a more secure and efficient way to make payments and protect both parties.

Sustainable Buying:

Consumers are now more conscious about the products they purchase and their impact on the environment. Brands should focus on offering eco-friendly products that are sustainable and good for the environment. Additionally, businesses should focus on ways to reduce waste and become more efficient in production to reduce their carbon footprint.

Buying Local:

The “buy local” movement has been gaining traction in recent years, and the pandemic has only accelerated this trend. Customers are now looking for more ways to shop locally and support local businesses. Brands should focus on ways to make it easier for customers to shop locally, such as offering local delivery or pickup options. It is also important to showcase locally sourced products to increase customer loyalty. This shift has helped local businesses survive during the pandemic, and brands should focus on how they can support local businesses, and also enable sustainable buying in the process.

Overall, consumer behavior is changing in response to the crisis. Businesses must understand these shifting trends and be prepared to accommodate the changing desires and needs of their customers. By understanding consumer behaviors and offering customers what they want, businesses can create a competitive advantage and drive success. These new consumer buying behaviors after the COVID-19 outbreak are here to stay, and businesses must be prepared to adjust their strategies to meet the needs of their customers. By understanding the shifting trends and customer priorities, brands can remain competitive and grow in the changing market.

Facts and Figures

Here are some facts and figures about the changing buying behaviors due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

About 68% of consumers are concerned about the food wastage they are creating, while 59% are more health and environmentally conscious when it comes to their purchases.

65% of customers want more convenience when it comes to their purchases. 87% of customers are engaging with more digital channels, including social media. 43% of customers are more likely to purchase from retailers offering loyalty programs and about 77% of customers are now comfortable with online purchasing and delivery.

65% of customers now prefer contactless payment solutions. About 55% of customers prefer to buy from local businesses over large companies. These figures show how consumer buying behaviors have shifted due to the pandemic, and businesses must be prepared to adjust their strategies to meet the changing customer needs. This largely attributes to the need for businesses to stay ahead of the curve.

Furthermore, looking into the future of consumer behavior when it comes to shopping and the rise of digital platforms (e.g. mobile phones), the notion of convenience, delivery, and contactless payment options will be the main platform on which companies will orientate products and services towards. This implies that brands need to ensure they are up to par and delivering a smooth, convenient, and secure service to customers.

In a Nutshell

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, consumer buying behaviors have changed dramatically. Customers are now prioritizing convenience and sustainability when it comes to their purchases, and are turning to more local and contactless shopping experiences. Businesses must understand these trends and adapt their strategies to meet the needs of their customers. By understanding customer needs, brands can remain competitive and grow in the changing market.

Overall, the pandemic has brought about changes to consumer buying behavior and businesses must be aware and be ready to adjust their strategic plans in order to accommodate these changes. Consumers are now more conscious about their purchase decisions, looking for convenience and sustainability in what they buy and focusing more on buying locally and using contactless payment solutions. Businesses must understand the demands of their customers and make the necessary adjustments to meet their needs. Doing so will enable businesses to remain competitive and grow in the changing market.

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