Consumer behavior is always changing and evolving, however the changes seen recently have altered the business world significantly. The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown and social distancing mandates have disrupted the consumer habits of buying as well as shopping. Consumers are learning newer habits and improvising. The expected concern to brands now is just how much consumer behavior will change further in the long run and how will it affect businesses in the near future.
The instability of jobs, fear and stress brought on by COVID-19, and people stocking essentials at home, there has also been more of a focus on value-based purchasing.
Consumers’ price sensitivity, the value remains the primary reason for consumers to try new brands as well as new places to shop. Aside from value, convenience and availability are most often cited as top drivers of consumers’ decisions about where to shop, while quality and purpose (desire to support local businesses, for example) are the more important considerations when choosing newer brands.
Due to a complete lockdown in many countries, consumers are unable to go to the grocery store or shopping centres. Stores came to them instead and so does work and education. This little change reverses the flow of work, education, health, purchasing and consumption. In-home delivery & entertainment streaming services which include Disney+, Netflix, and Amazon Prime are breaking the habit of physically going to a physical store.
At the same time, social distancing measures have also accelerated the rise of cashless payment methods. It enhances convenience and personalization in consumer behaviour while impacting the impulse of buying and planning vs any form of unplanned consumption.
Out of sheer necessity, consumers have also adopted several new technologies and digital applications. The pandemic has reinforced the already growing trend of online shopping. People have been forced to live their lives and spend their time differently. The different trends emerging which includes a major shift toward e-commerce and an increase in shopping at one-stop-shop retailers.
Staying indoors has naturally increased the need for online shopping, and we have seen rapid changes in behaviour that would have otherwise taken years to develop or cultivate. One example is how quickly people have adapted to purchasing groceries, essentials and other supplies online. This is one category of services that were not frequently purchased via the web until now.
Spending More Time on Leisure Activities
The amount of time people spend watching television or browsing through social media has also increased. More time is also being spent reading the latest news and taking up or discovering new skills or even hobbies. All these behavioural changes are leading to a shift in spending habits – as people are now more open to trying new, innovative things.
Increased Awareness on Health
The rapid spread of COVID-19 and its impact has raised the awareness of both health and personal well-being. People are adopting healthier lifestyles and focusing more on fitness or exercise routines and as a result an increase in online users for any fitness apps or digital workouts or gym sessions.
Mental health has also grown in importance, as many people have been affected by stress in fear of contracting COVID-19 and anxiety to sudden changes to their daily lives such as restricted movements, working from home, fear of job losses, etc.
Awareness of the need to build immunity is leading to a greater focus on food nutrition. Many consumers are shifting towards healthier eating habits both at home and in restaurants. A surge in demand for immunity boosting supplements is expected to continue post-pandemic and beyond.
The lockdown and social distancing have both generated significant disruptions in consumer behaviour. All consumptions are both time & location bound. With time flexibility but location rigidity, consumers have learned to adapt and improvise in creative and innovative ways.
The changes in consumers’ behaviours, priorities, and purchasing habits will directly lead to changes in the business world, and some we can expect them to be permanent post-pandemic and beyond. As business owners, adaption and survival are key, if we ever want to get ahead of the competition and remain relevant to our customers.
Hashtaqs has worked and partnered with businesses from various industries to understand the ever-changing behaviour of their consumers and help businesses thrive and stay relevant.
Our consultancy work is supportable with the funding scheme of up to 80% for local SG businesses. Contact us for a consultation at +65 8868 1418 or email us at [email protected]. For more info, visit www.hashtaqs.com.