Consumer Trends: Buying Behaviors Impacting Businesses During and After COVID-19

Updated: Jul 7

We all know consumers have changed their purchasing behaviors during stay-at-home orders, but what trends will persist as we begin phased reopening? 45% of consumers report that their spending behaviors will be permanently changed in the wake of COVID-19. During this session, we laid out the foundation of building customer empathy and how to pivot your business strategy based on emerging research on consumer trends and purchasing behaviors.

Quick Bites (Presentation Summary Notes)

Business resilience begins with UNDERSTANDING your customer. "Companies were already struggling to keep up with changing consumer behaviors before the pandemic. Now it's even more critical for companies to anticipate how consumers will change and respond to specific segment needs." Andrew Cosgrove, EY Global Consumer Knowledge Leader and Lead Analyst.


During COVID-19 four patterns of consumers emerged:

  • Save and stockpile (35% of consumers): Not so concerned about the pandemic, but worried about their families. Pessimistic about the long-term effects.

  • Cut Deep (27% of consumers): Hardest hit by the pandemic. Most pessimistic about the future. Spending less across all categories.

  • Stay calm, Carry on (26% of consumers): Not changing their spending habits. Not directly impacted by the pandemic. Worried that others are stockpiling.

  • Hibernate and spend (11% of consumers): Most concerned about the pandemic. But best positioned to deal with it. Optimistic for the future. Spending more across the board.

Highlight On Hibernate and Spend Customer Segment: Since this is the segment is the mostly to come back with a bang, how can you be sure to reach these customers with your offerings and messaging?

  • 18 -44

  • Most concerned about the impact of the pandemic (but conversely, less directly effected

  • 60% not shopping less frequently

  • 43% say products they purchase have changed significantly

  • 46% now say brands are more important to them

  • Most likely to “bounce back with a bang” (ie. ideal customers for the months to come)

  • 62% saying they would be more likely to purchase from companies that they feel are doing good for society

  • And 29% would pay a premium for brands that contribute to the community

  • 42% for domestically produced goods.

How we Shop Will likely be Changed for Good:

  • eCommerce sales are up 56%

  • Likely to be a permanent shift to more technology integration, due to the Diffusion of Innovation Theory. The Global Pandemic was the “kick-in -the-pants” for many Late Majority tech users to become comfortable with online shopping, remote work etc that has been available for years.

Action Items

  • Reevaluate your services-- what HIDDEN RESOURCES might you have to offer?

  • Target your messaging and services to customers in the best position to spend

  • Gather data to understand who are you currently serving?

  • Position your branding to be local & values driven

  • Get your online experience/services running smoothly

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