The early days of the pandemic brought with it huge swings in consumer behavior. Some resorted to panic buying and stocked their shelves with toilet paper, canned goods and cleaning products. Some ordered groceries online for the first time. And many others curtailed their spending to essential purchases only.
But according to a recent report by Accenture, there are three consumer shopping habits highly influenced by the pandemic that are here to stay.
- Health focused: Businesses don’t have to be in the healthcare industry to be health conscious. Consumers are more likely to trust and remain loyal to companies and brands that overtly demonstrate their commitment to health. Grocers prominently displayed alcohol wipes and put up plexiglass checkout barriers. And retailers – large and small – were among the first to mandate wearing masks in their stores. Those who aren’t directly consumer facing have found other ways to communicate their health commitment – including donations to healthcare workers or publicly extending work-from-home policies for their employees.
- Conscious Consumption: Consumers are becoming more aware of what they’re buying and the impact on the environment. Gardening and crop shares have both seen significant growth. The Burpee seed company reportedly sold more seed packets this spring than any other time during their nearly 145 years of operation. A combination of a reluctance to shop in public, a desire to reduce food waste and the need to cook and eat at home has resulted in a booming season for small farmers in the crop share business. The fashion industry has also made significant changes due to consumer demand.
- Local Loyalty: Hearts and wallets are being opened more generously with local retailers in recent months. As we’ve seen beloved neighborhood restaurants permanently close their doors – consumers are becoming more invested in helping ensure other local businesses survive. According to a recent survey by the NY Post, over 70% of those surveyed indicated their shopping habits have shifted from mass retailers to small businesses. Their support includes everything from ordering take-out and delivery, increasing tips and sharing public support via social media reviews. Other surveys indicate shoppers intend to continue to support small business over large retailers once the pandemic has eased.
Industry experts predict these recent changes in consumer behavior will have long-term effects. For more insights on the current state of marketing and future implications, check out our Marketing Trends blog.