The majority of consumers say pandemic has forever changed the way they shop

SUMMARY: According to Shopkick “a heightened focus on safety, financial health, and social justice issues will remain top of mind for consumers as they anticipate the new year, with 60% saying the pandemic has forever changed their shopping habits — consumers say they will always be stocked up on essentials, make fewer but bigger shopping trips, and buy more online.

Despite the major uptick in online shopping’s popularity brought on by COVID-19, consumers still plan to do the majority of their shopping in physical stores next year. Most plan to purchase both non-essential (63%) and essential items (89%) in brick and mortar stores in 2021.

Why would that be?

Consumers are tired of staying at home and staying away from their favorite stores like Target. If scientists are right, about life returning to somewhat normal in May of 2021, you can bet that stores and restaurants will be packed.

Budgets are going to tighten, at least at first

When it comes to planning their new year budgets, most consumers say they’ll be tightening their spending on both non-essential (69%) and essential purchases (58%) as a result of the pandemic.

Marketers need to better understand why but they mind find that research dated as soon as it’s complete. The media has done a great job on reporting stories on the people out of work and its scared us. I believe until we have several months of normalcy behind us people will be conservative with spending.

Although a great amount of uncertainty lies ahead in the new year, retailers and brands should still pay close attention to how consumers are shopping and spending as 2020 winds down.

58% of consumers have visited shopping malls and non-essential retailers since they’ve reopened, and of those who haven’t yet, most (57%) simply haven’t felt the need to visit. Others are concerned that other shoppers won’t take safety precautions (52%), that retailers will be too crowded (37%), and that retailers won’t enforce safety precautions (31%). 32% have been making non-essential purchases online instead. And unfortunately, 29% of consumers say that one of their go-to retailers has closed permanently as a result of the pandemic.

This survey was done before the current increases in COVID cases and warnings from scientists to limit social gatherings. These warnings are going to affect ALL retailers.

As infection rates continue to fluctuate across the country, 68% of consumers say that a retailer’s health and safety guidelines currently play a role in where they choose to shop. And even if the current state improves, 70% of consumers feel that their outlook on health and safety when it comes to shopping in-store will forever be changed.

Young woman wearing disposable medical mask shopping in supermarket during coronavirus pneumonia outbreak Protection and prevent measures while epidemic time

Retailers need to enforce social distancing and insist that customers wear masks. This is not an option anymore it’s a necessity.

2020 has been one of the most difficult years in recent history for many Americans, and several retailers and brands have repositioned themselves and changed their strategies amid the economic, social, and political unrest. Next year, 45% of consumers anticipate shopping more frequently at retailers or with brands that align with their core values, and 36% anticipate spending more with these retailers.

For many Americans, a big part of “normal” life includes dining with friends and family. While many have been utilizing takeout (72%) and delivery options (35%) to eat at home, 46% of consumers have been taking place in indoor, socially distanced dining, while 35% are outdoor dining.

Overall the data was presented very well but brands and retailers can’t take ANY data for granted. They need to ask “what does this mean for us?”. A big part of this puzzle will be how the media reports on the battle against the pandemic.

Looking forward to 2021, consumers are most excited to start traveling again (30%), gathering with friends and family (21%), shopping in-store (15 percent), dining indoors (15%), attending concerts and sporting events (14%), and schools reopening (6%).

Get ready for sold out vacation destinations, sold-out flights, and hard to get restaurant reservations. Americans are not known for their patience and as soon as vaccines are readily available returning to their lives will be a top priority.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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