Six ways consumer mindsets have changed since Covid-19
The pandemic has inevitably shifted consumers’ attitudes and behaviours. According to Brandwatch Qriously survey data covering 120,000 respondents in eight markets, this is particularly evident in areas such as safety, community and ethical consumerism.
How have consumer mindsets and behaviours changed throughout the pandemic – and how can marketers adapt and respond?
Since the beginning of the global Covid-19 outbreak, consumer intelligence company Brandwatch has been collecting data from over eight different countries (the UK, the US, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, China, and Australia), combining AI and machine learning to also analyse conversations across social media.
“Consumer mindsets obviously have changed a lot, but we need to make sure we keep up with those trends,” says Abigail Manning, research analyst at Brandwatch. Revealed at the Festival of Marketing 2020, the company’s consumer analysis covering 120,000 respondents has uncovered six key shifts.
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Find out more about how brands should adapt to new consumer mindsets. Watch Brandwatch’s ‘How have consumer mindsets and behaviours changed throughout the pandemic?’ session at the Festival of Marketing on demand now.
“We're now seeing people go online to decide things like which stores they're going to visit based on how safe they have been rated to feel,” she explains.
“People are taking into consideration things like the requirement to wear masks when in-store, social distancing signage that's visible around shop floors, as well as the ability to pay with contactless payment, and the limits placed on the number of people allowed in store at any one time.”
Safety concerns have sky-rocketed in importance, becoming the second most important factor in guiding people’s purchasing decisions after price. Manning says this might be unsurprising, but is important to consider, as 14% of respondents say they don’t currently feel safe returning to stores.
Half of the survey respondents say they’ll continue to buy things online now they’ve had the experience of doing so, and 73% claim they’ll continue to make online purchases post-outbreak.
“We're seeing that people who've never tried online shopping before the pandemic have been massively appreciating its benefits. So what was already becoming a growing trend has really been accelerated,” says Manning.
The insights show that item shortages during the pandemic have impacted brand loyalty and trust for consumers, and that many are now moving away from buying branded products. In fact, 36% of consumers think it’s less important now than pre-pandemic that the items they buy are branded, and 18% of consumers say they'll be making a long-term switch to buying alternatives to branded products.
“The huge item shortages we saw in shops earlier this year meant that a lot of people had to take a step away from buying their usual branded products and instead turn towards buying unbranded alternatives. And although it's not the fault of brands, it has had an impact on people's brand loyalty and trust,” says Manning.
Financial concerns have risen, paving the way for new criticism of companies making profit during a global pandemic. The Brandwatch Consumer Research platform found that worry over being able to make bill payments increased by 134% from February to March, on social media, and concerns over general home payments grew by almost 200%.
Manning discussed the findings of a recent Brandwatch study exploring public perceptions around company profits:
Increasingly consumers believe brands should operate according to their values, and prioritise employee wellbeing, sustainability, and helping the most vulnerable.
According to Brandwatch’s research report about how consumers view the role and responsibilities of businesses in 2020, Manning explains: “People no longer feel it's acceptable for brands to be purely profit driven. Instead, they want to see companies taking action to improve the world we live in. We've seen people searching online way more for sustainable and ethical brands, compared to what they had in previous years.”
Stronger sense of community
People have developed a deeper appreciation for their local communities, for example, Facebook recently reported a 23% increase in clicks on local business pages.
“People are increasingly seeing themselves as part of a more global community. We saw this translated online in terms of outreach programs and fundraisers for people in countries where people were suffering more. Engagement with digital philanthropy
almost doubled during the pandemic, and more people have been trying to buy local and to support their local businesses,” says Manning.
Businesses must have the means to adapt to these changes, to rebuild trust with consumers and any brand loyalty that has been lost, Manning sums up, impressing a further need for the right tools in place to track consumer trends in real time, to measure the results of marketing strategies, and to know they're on the right track. ■
Brandwatch is offering free expert analysis of the latest consumer trends in the Brandwatch Bulletin. You can sign up here.
“As a result we saw massive criticism directed online towards anyone seeming to be profiting out of the pandemic, in a time when so many others were facing economic hardship,” says Manning.