As the pandemic progresses through different phases,
It has uprooted and changed just about everything in our lives. Public health and government measures have changed the way we socialize, parent, go to school, work, eat, shop, and travel. Inherently, Covid-19 has reshaped consumer behavior. While everyone is eager to a return to “normal,” the fact is that our world was profoundly changed, very quickly. Consumer behavior today is all about finding a counterbalance to what was lost in our pre-pandemic world. The pandemic experience has given today’s global consumers a new set of behaviors and decision-making criteria that changed their purchasing patterns and consumption habits. In like manner, industry sectors, businesses, and even governments were forced to reconsider their business models, communication strategies and quickly digitize. The economic impact of Covid-19, regardless of industry, has made consumers and companies alike, adapt and adopt even more digital means to meet the demand of this new era of e-commerce. A new consumer has emerged after a year of shelter at home and pandemic-related restrictions and protocols.
Digital Technology : Evolution & Revoultion
An unprecedented stretch of stay-at-home mandates and physical distancing have forced consumers to shop differently. Remember that first time you ordered groceries to be delivered at home? Are you still doing that today? Pandemic-related habits have changed how we behave, spend and consume, and most likely will never be the same. Digital shopping is here to stay and is meeting the needs of the “new customer,” from Gen Z to Boomers. The accelerated adoption of digital channels across generations means that more people (51% of Gen X and older) are making a portion of their “normal” purchases online, compared to their pre-pandemic habits…a trend that is not expected to change. While millennials lead the way when it comes to online shopping, older consumers are growing accustomed to e-commerce and don’t plan on returning to their old ways. Across industries such as travel, banking, and food, technology came to the rescue to help ease the stress of shopping, even for the basics like groceries. The new reality is that, across categories, consumers are more confident than ever before ordering online. In the fulfillment of these transactions, traditional retailers have fulfilled consumer needs in a few different ways, from delivery to curbside or in-store pick and ship to store. All of these innovations were quickly put into place in order to survive, and will now have to continue in order to thrive. There is no going back to the way things were before. The key to keeping the “new consumer” will be the constant evolution to improve the digital experience and foster a new kind of digital dialogue.
Health & Wellbeing is Priority # 1
Health and wellbeing are clearly the most important items at the forefront of the consumer’s mind and encompass their most fundamental basic needs. With so much uncertainty during the past year, the “new consumer” is craving comfort, convenience, and stability. The pandemic disrupted day-to-day life routines and the new experiences from being homebound has caused the consumer to re-evaluate their beliefs about a wide range of everyday activities. As life settles into a new normal, consumers will now be searching for wellbeing experiences through an entirely new lens and will demand the integration of health and wellbeing into every aspect of their lives, seeking a re-balance of their physical and mental health. This is opening up a global dialogue about many aspects of wellbeing and setting a new framework for how brands and companies will need to communicate to the consumer. Another hot topic item as Americans start heading back out to shop is hygienic transparency. It is increasingly important for brands and companies to not only have protocols in place but transparently communicate their efforts and protocols clearly to the consumer.
A New Collective Empowerment with a Stronger Voice
“We’re all in this together” is still #trending. The levels of collaboration needed between governments and citizens essential to defeating the pandemic continue to require collective action. This is only achievable when governments have gained the public’s trust by providing clear, real-time information and sound decisions that show results in managing the pandemic. This collective mentality is grounded in a community-focused mindset. This collective mindset and empowerment around the world has made it so that consumers are making their voices heard on ideas and concerns they are passionate about. On social media, consumers are sharing their thoughts that encompass economic and social disparities. Brands will need to quickly identify the risks and opportunities, striking a new-found balance with consumers who, now more than ever, want to know that their purchases are aligned with brands that promote a sense of purpose. They need to meet the safety needs of customers and employees first, while also staying true to their commitment to the environment and social policies. The “new consumer” is now demanding that companies help reshape the world in a more sustainable way and are more closely evaluating the brand choices and allegiances.
Globally, consumers are demanding that brands address inequities and injustices to bring about systemic change. This is leading consumers to come together in like-minded communities in order to support and drive impact on important issues and topics. During a period fueled by isolation and loneliness, the reemerged consumer wants nothing more than a feeling of belonging and togetherness and to be part of a group with a common purpose.
Encapsulating The Post-Pandemic Consumer
In summary, the “new consumer” is more demanding in every sense of the word. They are value-driven and fueled by a digital revolution that has completely altered the shopping experience and life as we knew it. The post-pandemic consumer is requiring very clear communication, a seamless offline and online digital experience, and is willing to pay a premium for convenience and ease of purchase. And while exacting, the “new consumer” is also emerging as kinder and more empathetic, as they shift to merge morals and money, supporting brands that generate social and environmental benefits in tandem with their bottom line.
Is your Brand ready to service the “New Consumer?”