Top 5 Consumer Purchasing Shifts in 2020 Which Greatly Impact Buying Behavior

Consumer Purchasing behavior

There is a “new normal” affecting and even overtaking American society.  It is, of course, precipitated by the global Covid-19 Pandemic.  Unlike natural disasters, this pandemic has had, and continues to achieve, incalculable longevity.  Yes, life continues, and coping with change, for the citizenry of the United States is now a fact. Consumer Purchasing behavior has shifted in five distinct and prodigious ways.  It has increased prudently, with shrewd and savvy purchase choices, and a wholehearted and significant expectation for greater customer service.

Shift One: Consumer’s Seek the Next-Normal of Contactless-ness, and Online Shopping

Until the Pandemic was shredded into America, many consumers enjoyed brick and mortar experiences, for a “hands-on” action which was familiar. As the virus shut down the country, incomes shrank, stay-at-home safety, and fear, led to an on-line, consumer quest for a contactless, virtual experience.  Food and essential products for health care and cleanliness became precious commodities, and online sales for these items, increased significantly.  Consumers spent $211.5 billion online, up 31.8% during 2020’s first quarter.

The virus pushed consumers online to mitigate risk, many of whom had resisted the digital world due to a long-time love of bricks and mortar purchasing practices. Many consumers, not just Millennials, and Gen X and Z, chose other digital and contactless services such as: ordering-online, pick-up at the curb, delivery, or drive-though with tap-to-pay options, for cleanliness and safety solutions, footwear, food and other essentials.

Shift Two: Socially Distanced Lifestyle – Elevated Homebody Existence

The necessity of changing from an outgoing, active, and adventurous life to a FOGO (Fear of Going Out) mind-set is an enormously impactive shift for millions of people.  Often feelings of loneliness, disassociation, and a kind of “living in a bubble” mentality leads to anxiety and depression, which is unlike anything you have previously experienced. That said, many Americans are embracing time spent with immediate family at home, and creating a balance with digital time spent in positive ways such as:

  • Reaching out to loved ones on Zoom
  • Joining in online exercise classes, yoga, or other activities
  • Playing games together, and with friends online
  • Streaming Netflix or other providers of movies and shows
  • Learning a new language
  • Viewing DIY projects and tutorials for needed information
  • Creating a podcast

American ingenuity can turn FOGO into the ongoing trend, JOMO, which is finding joy in not having to go out, during this time when mitigation is one of the few ways to fight back and stop the spread of Covid 19. Digital time can be educational, inspirational, entertaining, and family fun.  Numerous tech-savvy companies are already creating innovative digital products to enhance and speed up the working online experience for now, and to last long after the pandemic is resolved.

Shift 3: Brand Loyalty, Less on Brand Name, More on Value

The Pandemic led to Consumer Purchasing behavior of erratic shopping to buy necessities in quantity, and retail stores were left with limited or less stock, including popular brands. Online shopping platforms like Amazon and Walmart Online, offer the consumer a search for product types, not just brands, and private label items, which are less expensive and more available. These private label products have become the go-to for everyone needing to stretch the dollar further, due to decreasing income and periods of unemployment. This trend is destined to continue, as consumers find this shift a change for the better.  Goldman Sachs recent survey projects that the private label industry will see a 30% increase due to consumer choice, as they continue shopping online because of the virus.

Shift Four: Hygiene – the New, Necessary Source of Concern

The Pandemic has shown consumers, blatantly, the need for hygiene enhancement at home, and as they begin going out into the world. What cannot be seen, can be lethal. Technology is a tool for cleanliness and safety with contactless actions. Shoppers will never again be comfortable unless the shopping environs have self-checkout, tap to pay, and many other transparent options which reflect concern for health and wellbeing. 79% of consumers intend to continue seeking service and contactless methods of shopping.

Shift Five: Motivation; Consumers Habits Changed and Must be Met   

Now more than ever it is critical to understand the motivating factors which propel purchases. Consumer Purchasing behavior, from their intent to their priorities, and understanding these elements of motivation, are the epicenter of transactional success. One should not throw a dart in hopes of pinpointing value propositions that tip the line and culminate in a sale. Rather, . Let the customers speak for themselves and truly listen to their feedback. Often consumers are all to happy to share their opinions. Brands commonly make the mistake of not asking, and therefore miss knowing what consumers need, especially in this changing landscape.

Americans, and hopefully the global communities, will persevere, and through ingenuity, technology, and honest effort, will rise above this crisis, stronger and more resilient than before; with empathy and gratitude for family, the country and it’s courage during any seismic shift.

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