Has COVID-19 changed consumer behaviour forever?
We’ve written about the link between consumer confidence and marketing spend many times already, but when the Bank of England released a new forecast this week suggesting the economic slump might not be as bad as originally feared, it felt like there was a new reason to feel optimistic.
There’s no doubt that the last five months have been tough for everyone working in the worlds of PR, content and marketing. And although there are plenty of suggestions there could be more challenges to come, there’s still a sense of confidence that the country can, and will bounce back. The question seems to be more about when.
The other big consideration is what impact this period will have had on people – consumers, clients and customers. Habits have shifted massively, and the lack of face-to-face events and interaction have forced marketing managers and communications experts to rethink their strategies. The pace of digital change has accelerated massively in 2020 and it seems highly unlikely that we’ll go back to the way things were pre-COVID.
A desire to do more things online
A report from Brandwatch released earlier this month included some interesting data around consumer habits during the lockdown period. Just under 7,000 people were surveyed across several countries including the UK, the US, France and Spain.
This kind of data makes it possible for brands to begin formulating a clearer picture on what they can do now to ensure they have adapted to the changes brought about by COVID-19.
In retail, despite most shops now being open, only 20% of people said they now feel safe shopping in this way. Understandably, there’s still hesitation when it comes to shopping in person. With more localised lockdowns expected to come in the months ahead, online shopping is the new normal. Data released recently showed a surge in online shopping of 33.9% in June – the highest annual result since March 2008.
Having an online presence as a brand, is more vital now than ever before. SEO has become a fundamental part of any good integrated marketing strategy, with other digital channels like social media and e-newsletters also becoming go-to tactics.
The trends for DIY and staycations
DIY businesses are another to have benefitted from an influx of people taking the opportunity to make home improvements. Kingfisher, the owners of B&Q, posted incredible results this week including a massive spike in sales since lockdown was lifted. Online sales were a big part of that too and the reports suggest these have more than tripled.