<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=515036989147335&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Consumer Behavior Almost a Year Into the COVID-19 Pandemic

Oct 31, 2020 8:34:00 AM

Influence Central fielded an in-depth survey on consumer behavior changes around Covid-19 in September 2020, hearing from 740 consumers, this survey re-asked many of the questions in a similar survey with 700 consumers on March 30, 2020 at the beginning of U.S. shutdowns around the pandemic.

The emerging story from both surveys illuminates how the changes in consumer behavior that developed during the pandemic have now become ingrained into the new normal that will outlast the pandemic’s ending. For instance, as consumers took to their kitchens when the pandemic first shut down restaurants, fast food and take-out options, people have shifted to home cooked meals as a way of life and recipes still top the content consumers most crave. Even with grocery stores and retail opening back up, e-commerce has become the preferred mode to shop, whether shipping items to one’s home or picking them curbside up at a brick and mortar location. An intense tune-in to both media and social media has been sustained and moved from primarily escapism to at-home entertainment and connectivity.

As the pre-COVID frenzy of everyday lives has subsided, people delved into sprucing things up at home, from DIY fix ups up around the house to gardening, re-decorating, vegetable growing and crafting. There’s more time for family conversations, checking in on relatives and friends, and cultural immersions into exciting new TV series and books. Parents have more months stretching ahead of them with a mixture of virtual learning, and a struggle within two career couples to get their work done, especially as isolated older parents can no longer help with childcare. A sense of consumer panic has settled into frustrated acceptance, from the shut-down in live spectator sports to much reduced holiday gatherings due to COVID, less long-distance travel and impacted family budgets amid layoffs. It’s no wonder many consumers believe we’re headed into an economic recession.

What started in the panic of the pandemic has emerged the new normal with the following lasting changes in consumer behavior and expectations for brands emerging.

 CONSUMER PURCHASING HABITS: A CONTINUING EVOLUTION A COMPARISON FROM MARCH TO SEPTEMBER 2020

MOVE AWAY FROM BRAND NAMES TO GENERIC

As of September, only 18% of consumers reported being willing to pay for a brand-name label versus a generic one. This represent just a sliver of an increase back toward brand-name preference since March when only 12% of consumers said they’re very willing to pay for a preferred brand-name label versus a generic.

58% of consumers share that they’ve switched over to more generic brands over the course of the pandemic. This compares to 29% willing to do so at the start of COVID-19. The primary reasons for doing so:

  • Cost Savings (67%)
  • Unable to find favorite brands and products in-store (63%)
  • Unable to find favorite brands and products online (39%) 

WHAT CONSUMERS MOST WANT FROM BRANDS

It is important for brands to recognize the anxiety held by consumers surrounding the economy. 85% of survey respondents believe we are heading toward a recession. 44% of consumers are increasingly worried about their short-term finances, compared to 58% greatly worried about their long-term finances. In light of economic anxieties, consumers first and foremost want deals and cost savings, coupled with a give back component and strong customer support.

DEALS & COST SAVINGS

On COVID’s onset in March, 88% of consumers most valued cost-saving promotions from brands. These brand discounts, deals, and freebies, and cost saving promotions still hold great value to consumers.

                                                SEPTEMBER 2020                      MARCH 2020

Cost-saving promotions             87%                              88%

Seek deals                                            86%                              86%

Freebies                                               84%                              83%

Discounting                                          85%                              82%

 

BRAND BEHAVIORS CONSUMERS MOST VALUE

In March brands that positively stand out to consumers are focused on their consumers' needs during a difficult, unprecedented time, and now six months later consumers expect less on this front from brands.

                                                SEPTEMBER 2020                      MARCH 2020

Customer support                                 56%                                                  61%
Responsible messaging                      48%                                                   58% 
Give back component                          46%                                                  38%
Charitable contributions                      41%                                                   54%

 

BRANDS THAT IMPRESSED CONSUMERS 

Of brands that have positively impressed you during the pandemic, what did they stand out for?

 

                                                                                    SEPT 2020                    MARCH 2020

Changes to their normal business to help customers      51%                              55%

Providing a Necessary Service                                                  45%                              56%
Charitable Actions                                                                        30%                              37%
Helping take minds off crisis                                                     22%                              31%
Humor/ comedic relief                                                                 21%                              21%
No brands have impressed me                                                 24%                              20%
Dislike brands going quiet                                                         29%                              29%
Indifferent                                                                                        53%                              59%
Like hearing from brands now                                                   9%                               10%

 

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS WHERE CONSUMERS MOST WANT TO HEAR FROM BRANDS

 

                                                                        SEPT 2020        MARCH 2020

Facebook                                                                     67%                            65%

Instagram Feed                                                         35%                            32%

Instagram Stories                                                      18%                             16%

Twitter                                                                         26%                             26%

TikTok                                                                          14%                                2%

YouTube                                                                       14%                             14%

Blogs                                                                            19%                              14%

Websites                                                                      54%                          53% 

CONTENT CONSUMERS MOST CRAVE

                                                                        SEPT 2020        MARCH            % CHANGE

New and interesting recipes                                          54%                  44%                  + 18%

Recipes that involve just a few ingredients                53%                  57%

Healthy snacking ideas                                                    48%                  43%

How to use pantry staples to cook                                45%                  49%

Healthy recipes                                                                    41%                  34%                  + 17%

 

Home organizing and cleaning projects                     40%                  48%

Movie and TV show reviews and suggestions             38%                  48%

Humor                                                                                    38%                  48%

Home arts and crafts ideas                                               33%                  45%

Home fitness activities                                                       35%                  43%

Best practices for improving mental health                 31%                  36%

Education content and virtual learning                          29%                  44%

At home beauty and self-care                                           29%                  30%

  

LOCAL BUSINESS SUPPORT

 

56% of consumers favor local business options as a result of the pandemic and share that 81% of these businesses now offer delivery and pick up options which makes things easier.

 

 

PERCEPTION OF THE ECONOMY

 

When it comes to how consumers feel about the economy 6 months into the pandemic:

  • 54% believe we’re entering a significant recession and are concerned.
  • 21% believe that the economy is going to bounce back and they’re unconcerned.
  • 38% of consumers really worry about their personal finances; only 9% say they’re not worried at all.

 

SEPTEMBER 2020 DEMOGRAPHICS

 

730 Consumers

 

Under $19,999              3.7%

$20,000 - $29,999         4.7%

$30,000 - $39,999         7.6%

$40,000 - $49,999         7.1%

$50,000 - $59,999         8.7%

$60,000 - $74,999         10.6%

$75,000 - $99,999         16.5%

$100,000 - $149,999     16.5%  

$150,000 - $199,999     4.8%

Over $200,000              4.4%

Prefer not to disclose    13%

 

 

 

 

New call-to-action

Categories

REAL Trends content, subscribe now!
New call-to-action

You May Also Like

These Stories on Trends

Subscribe by Email

No Comments Yet

Let us know what you think