The Covid-19 outbreak has transformed everyday life for many consumers globally. The situation is changing swiftly. Social gathering at a single place is reduced from thousands and hundreds to ten. Restaurants, theaters, gyms, corporate offices, shops, and everything is closed.
As an impact, people are realizing the importance of an interconnected world through digital technology. Along with this, there is a huge change in their shopping behaviors as well. Customers have started to avoid public places and limited their shopping. Businesses have to adapt to this change and function accordingly to address customers’ needs.
Here is a glimpse of how customers’ behaviors are changing due to the impact of the global health crisis.
Digital Adoption is on the Rise
This pandemic has accelerated the scope of digitization from shopping, eating, entertainment, fitness, education, financial services, and whatnot! Digital adoption is no longer age-group related only. It has become an essential part of all the generations. All are starting to rely on digital platforms to learn and buy rather than old-school tactics.
According to analysis, only in the U.K., shopping through digital platforms mounted to become 30% of retail sales in April 2020, increased from 22% in March.
To leverage the digital wave, businesses need to follow customer-centric approaches that will help in retaining their old customers and attract potential customers.
Mobility Patterns are Changing
Mobility is impacted by lockdowns, remote working, social distancing, and health challenges. Many business meetings are transferred virtually. People are considering their health as a priority. At a local level, the use of public transport is reduced due to safety and hygiene considerations.
It takes much time for physical retail stores to return to pre-pandemic levels, as per Google’s mobility reports.
As vaccines are being phased and infection risk decreases, people are slowly moving to public places with all the essential precautions. However, people are often preferring work from home post COVID-19 situation that ultimately decrease local traffic concerns.
Buying Behavior Shifts
Surveys have found that consumers are shifting to value-based purchasing. It gave priority to earning the highest value for the consumer on the money spent.
Starting from March 2020, search queries like online shopping and how to buy online have grown 2x on a global level.
Consumers are testing new brands when their ordinary buying pattern is interrupted and if it returns better value there are great chances that they will remain with the new brand for long.
People are also loving local products nowadays. They want to support local businesses, which includes purchasing their favorite stuff in their local areas. Local businesses can leverage social media, websites, or Google My Business to become customer-facing.
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Health and Well-being at its Peak
People are adopting healthier lifestyles after the rapid spread of COVID-19. More and more individuals are focusing on fitness.
According to Statista, in the first quarter of 2020, downloads of health and fitness apps were 593 million. In the same quarter of 2019, downloads of health and fitness apps were only 446 million. This increase is mainly as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic which has made consumers stay inside the doors and reorganize their exercise routine and daily lifestyle practices.
The importance of mental well-being has also grown as many people were stressed due to fear of testing positive with coronavirus, restricted routines, work from home, fear of job losses, and much more.
Awareness to boost immunity is also leading to high focus. People are shifting to healthier eating at home or even in restaurants. The craze for immunity-boosting products is growing continually.
Love for Digital Technology
Consumers are loving to adopt several advanced technologies and their apps in real life. The effect of digital technology in general and social media specifically on customer behavior is enormous in scale and common in consumer’s routine life.
Most consumers like social media like Facebook, Whatsapp, Linked In, Youtube, and many others. Each platform has more than a billion users. It has greatly transformed the nature and scope of sharing information.
People are using video calling apps to keep up with their friends, family, and colleagues. Schools and colleges are also leveraging apps for knowledge sharing. Customers are also using eCommerce apps and their unique features that will give the best user experience to the shoppers by just sitting at home.
With periods of isolation and social distancing, people are getting time flexibility but with location rigidity. Everyone is working at home, learning at home, and relaxing at home. Consumers are not able to go to the physical store, so the store has to come to the customers through technology.
Individuals are inclined to accept modern technology which expedites work, study, and consumption more appropriately. Adopting digital technology is likely to change current habits. Public policy also enhances new consumption habits mainly in public places.
One thing we can safely assume is that brands that serve a steady and significant online experience can flourish amid this difficult time.