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5 Consumer Behaviors That Will Shape The Remainder Of 2020

July 6, 2020 Melissa Ledesma

COVID-19 has had a momentous effect on all aspects of daily life. Shifts in societal norms and economic stress have resulted in many consumers adopting a series of new or renewed behaviors. After adjusting habits and priorities for more than four months, consumers are not likely to quickly abandon the habits they have heavily relied on to get through these difficult times. Here are five consumer habits that should continue to shape how marketers and brands interact with audiences in 2020. 

#1 Baby Boomers & Older Generations Will Complete More Purchases Online.

The values, priorities and sentiments of each generation are heavily shaped by their experiences. A heightened need to stay indoors amidst health concerns drove Baby Boomers and older consumers online for their daily purchases. The effects of the coronavirus may cause Baby Boomers to embrace online shopping in new ways and adopt these behaviors permanently. Additionally, electronic payment methods are becoming the preferred option among many consumer segments. 

#2  Consumer Purchases Will Be Driven By Discounts, Access To Alternative Payment Methods And Optionality That Enhances The Online Shopping Experience.

Many businesses were forced to shut down as a result of COVID-19, and unemployment rates surged. Consumers transitioned from shopping in-store to shopping online for everything from fashion to groceries. Economic downturns traditionally spur increased consumer demand for discount and coupon offers, and 2020 was no different. In addition to seeking promo codes, consumers also began embracing alternative payment methods and sought out optionality during online checkouts. 

#3 Consumers Will Maintain New Grocery-Related Shopping Habits And Values.

Stay-at-home orders drove most consumers to replace dining out with cooking and consuming most meals at home. The renewed need to prepare meals at home catapulted in-store and online grocery sales. In addition to the growth of grocery purchases overall, many consumers who were once making food decisions based on nutrition and quality altered their priorities to value availability, affordability and the convenience of a longer shelf life. As a result, processed foods and CPG pantry items experienced spikes in sales. Subscription boxes also attracted new audiences who sought the benefits of convenience and predictability, particularly related to food and beverage purchases. 

#4 Consumers Will Increase Expectations For Brands To Exhibit Social Responsibility.

COVID-19 became a period of necessary empathy and compassion. As consumers navigated new norms, they sought goods and services from brands that exhibited a commitment to social responsibility. During a time of crisis, brands that offered assistance and displayed authenticity, sincerity, good will and compassion toward their customers were welcomed. In addition to quality, consumers are increasing their prioritization of brands that align with their values.

#5 Consumers Will Display Heightened Value & Need For At-Home Activities, Fun And Leisure. 

Activities reserved for fun, sports, exercise and leisure are returning to American homes and backyards as people avoid crowds. Periods of self isolation and restricted access to gyms and similar fitness-related businesses entice consumers to take virtual fitness classes and purchase in-home gym equipment. Sales of pools and other outdoor toys and sporting equipment soared as many consumers battled boredom and sought at-home entertainment. Sports that encouraged safe social distancing like golf also saw upticks in consumer participation and related sales. The already booming video game market drew even larger audiences.

Marketers Must Stay Abreast Of Evolving Consumer Needs & Values 

The full societal effects of COVID-19 on consumer behaviors are still to be determined. As with any major national or global event, the coronavirus will likely shape many aspects of consumer values for years to come. As industries comply with new regulations, procedures and expectations, brands cannot return to old strategies without examining them through a new lens. 

Customers are seeking products and services from brands that offer seamless, omni-channel experiences and offer positive user experiences and optionality. Consumers want to feel brands are aligned with their personal values and have a sense of compassion. Bands have a heightened responsibility to connect with new audiences in ways that will continue to bolster engagement, retention and loyalty. This is a time for brands to prioritize learning as much as possible about their target audiences, create updated customer profiles and implement marketing strategies that will reach consumers where they are and also where they are going.

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About the Author

Melissa Ledesma

An innovative problem solver by nature, Melissa Ledesma is both experienced and passionate about the digital marketing industry. She has held a number of high-level positions within the real estate, mortgage, entertainment and digital advertising industries, including Director of PR and Business Development at NJ Lenders Corp. and Director of Communications & Government Affairs at Eastern Bergen County Board of Realtors. As Director of Content & Communications at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), Melissa demonstrates a strategic, creative and tactical approach when handling the thought leadership programs and marketing and communications efforts for DMS and its family of brands. She manages all conferences, sponsorships and event execution and plays a pivotal role in the creation of written, digital and video content for all campaigns. Melissa has consistently positioned the team at DMS as experts in performance marketing across multiple industries.

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