Consumer Buying Behaviour During Covid
Tuesday September 28th, 2021
Consumer buying behaviour during Covid changed as a result of various factors, but nothing impacted the High Street more than lockdown.
With the closure of all non-essential retail, the sector was forced to adapt to an immediate shift in consumer buying behaviour, relying entirely on their digital presence while planning for what would be needed post-lockdown.
With the restrictions on the public now removed or significantly relaxed, how have buying habits changed, and what does the future hold for the retail sector?
What is consumer buying behaviour?
Let’s start with a definition.
‘Consumer buying behaviour’ relates to the actions someone takes in the process of purchasing products or services. This includes researching options online, speaking to sales people, browsing products in a shop and, ultimately, purchasing the product or service.
This behaviour is influenced by the consumer’s emotions, attitudes and preferences, as well as marketing and sales.
How has consumer buying behaviour changed since Covid-19?
Covid-19 has had an impact on every area of our lives. Some of the most obvious being in how we buy things.
Wearing face coverings, the presence of hand sanitiser dispensers, and the supermarket queues seen in the early days of the pandemic couldn’t be missed, but Covid-19 has caused consumer buying behaviour to change more fundamentally than that.
Let’s take a look at three examples:
1. Rapid increase in online purchases
It goes without saying that the national lockdown in the UK led to a huge surge in online purchases.
With all non-essential retail forced to close, online retail was the only option for buying a huge number of products. In fact, there was 129% week-on-week growth in online shopping rates in those first weeks of lockdown. What’s more, the threat of the virus meant consumers were buying things online they could still buy from essential retail.
In March 2020, before Covid really took hold in the UK, 41% of consumers reported buying more online than they had before. By February 2021, this had jumped to 71%.
2. Increased use of technology
Technology has been crucial in the retail sector’s reaction to Covid-19. A survey conducted by McKinsey found that the pandemic had speeded up adoption of digital technologies by several years – and that they are here to stay.
Keeping their customers and employees safe is the priority, but shopper perception of safety is also important.
Unsurprisingly, there’s been a big push on reducing touch points. The Lush Lens app, originally developed as a way to reduce packaging, allows customers to scan items for information without needing to pick them up, while Coca-Cola touchless vending machines enable ‘mobile pouring’ via QR codes.
The digital transformation of the shopping experience, bringing the online shopping experience to brick-and-mortar stores, is going to be an increasing trend. This includes the introduction of more click-and-collect and ‘endless’ aisle solutions.
3. Health and wellbeing purchases
There’s nothing quite like a global pandemic to get consumers thinking about their health, and this was reflected in the huge increase in health and wellbeing products being purchased.
Sales data published by SPAR International suggested Covid had fast-tracked demand for healthy and sustainable foods, but it’s not just grocery shopping that’s witnessing this trend. The pandemic also put a strain on the public’s mental health, and more and more people are buying products and services dedicated to this element of their wellbeing.
What does the future of consumer buying behaviour look like?
Consumer buying behaviour has always been notoriously difficult to predict. It’s made even harder while there’s still so much uncertainty surrounding Covid.
Although it’s hard to anticipate what the future holds in relation to the pandemic – whether that involves more national lockdowns or other restrictions – it’s unlikely that the digitisation of retail we’ve seen is going to reverse. Consumers now have high standards when it comes to convenience and, for example, if they’ve become used to buying online and picking up in-store, they’re not going to accept that being taken away.
Even when taking Covid out of the equation, retailers are going to have to deliver exceptional customer experiences that leverage the convenience of online shopping in-store.
Financial support for individuals and organisations post-Covid
We’ve talked a lot about the importance of convenience to people post-Covid, but modern consumers also want flexibility.
UK retailers have had an incredibly difficult 18 months and boosting conversion rates has never been more important, especially with the Christmas shopping season rapidly approaching.
Offering multiple ways to pay, particularly for those mid-to-high ticket items, makes a huge difference. This shouldn’t be restricted just to your website either, with point-of-sale financing in-store being an important element of a multi-channel retail strategy.
At Duologi our solutions include 0% finance on monthly payments, as well as interest-bearing finance, so you can choose the best option for your business.
If you’d like to find out more about how Duologi can help your business sell more products and take the hassle out of retail finance, book a free consultation with one of our experts.