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How the coronavirus pandemic has transformed consumer behavior

Posted by Shivali Anand

October 20, 2021    |     3-minute read (590 words)

Your firm is undoubtedly making or executing plans for a post-pandemic reopening and getting back on track, but it's unlikely it will be in the same setting as before. According to a study from Accenture, customers may have permanently altered their purchasing patterns.

Per Accenture, businesses should start customizing their marketing strategies to target their products and services to five new categories of consumers, based on consumer surveys performed in spring 2020.

The Rationalist – These customers, who account for 39% of the population, want to keep informed through the news. Only suggested products, such as cleaning and personal hygiene products, have seen a rise in purchasing among this group.

The Individualist – This group, which accounts for 22% of the population, accumulates necessities and works to meet their own wants. These customers are less inclined to agree with the reaction of the government.

The Worrier –These consumers, who account for 21% of the population, are worried and anxious about the future, resulting in restricted spending.

The Indifferent – These customers, who make up 11% of the population, are largely unconcerned and go about their business as usual.

The Activist – This group, which accounts for 8% of the population, is concerned about others and shops for individuals outside their immediate families.

These consumer groups' buying habits have changed as well. "Worriers" raised their purchases of personal hygiene items by 50%, while those in the "indifferent" category increased purchasing by just 10.4%.

Takeaway: For your campaigns, a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy will not work. Instead, determine which groups your potential consumers fall into and customize your marketing plan accordingly.

How has consumer purchasing behavior changed?

The priorities of shoppers have shifted as the pandemic landscape has evolved. They are more concerned about their health requirements, and they're paying attention to what they're buying. According to Accenture, consumers want to reduce food waste, purchase sustainable goods and be cost-conscious. Furthermore, there has been a substantial surge in interest in buying locally manufactured products.

As most business owners know, during the coronavirus pandemic, demand for online shopping has soared. Instacart reported that subscriptions have increased 10- to 20-fold in areas with the highest rate of COVID-19 infections. Furthermore, according to an Accenture poll, consumers anticipate continuing to purchase this way once the pandemic is contained. Over 30% of consumers expect to buy online after the outbreak ends.

Takeaway: If your company hasn't yet made the switch to the internet channel, now is the time to do so. Customers have become habituated to the ease and security of buying online, and it appears that they will continue to do so.

The evolution of consumer recreational activities

According to the Accenture study, the necessity for social distancing has resulted in a significant shift in how consumers use their leisure time, with some of these changes anticipated to be permanent.

In the early stages of the pandemic, around 61% of consumers said they planned to watch more news, and 55% of people said they want to spend more time with their families. Since the start of the pandemic, the ranks of applications like Zoom, Skype and Google Classroom have risen by more than 200%, while new apps like Disney+ and Spiral Roll have made a considerable impression. 

"As consumers continue to embrace digital platforms to connect, play and learn, CPG companies must increase their focus on digital vs. traditional tools to engage with consumers and enhance their experiences," stated Accenture.

Takeaway: When developing your post-coronavirus business strategy, keep your target consumers' changing habits in mind and pivot as needed.

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