COVID19 is changing consumers behaviors, how should companies react?
As Italy is entering its third week of lockdown due the COVID pandemic, it is important to asses which are the effects of the virus not only on businesses but on consumers’ behavior too.
As marketers, we must be prepared to completely shift planned campaigns and adjust them day-by-day. In fact, data report that around 55% of marketers are delaying campaigns or have started to review them – this, of course, is the result of the uncertainty in economic and market conditions.
More than a third of marketers (39%) say their company has already experienced lowered demand for its services, while more than half (61%) expect to see this lowering of demand continue over the next two quarters.
Beyond the effects being felt within their own organizations, marketers are expecting to see significant changes in behaviour among both consumers and business clients. For example, consumers will probably delay major spending (e.g. bulky investments) and will wait to see how their wealth will evolve as the pandemic continues to spread.
Moreover, given the increasing amount of Countries adopting strict regulations and requiring citizens to work from home, among the most evident shifts in consumption patterns, is the greater use of online services.
More specifically, four sectors recorded a major surge in traffic: Media (+46%), Supermarket (+42%), Retail Healthcare (comprising online pharmacies, vitamin, supplement: +24%) and Telecom (+24%).
Over the next few weeks, consumers say they plan to spend more on “essentials” such as cleaning products, canned goods, and bottled water – and less on apparel, toys, and other “optional” items. This trend is perfectly in line with what Maslow defined as ‘basic needs’. It follows that some sectors are suffering the most: Jewelry (-25%), Tourism (-22%), Luxury (-19%), Fashion (-14%) and Events/Theater and Sport equipment brands (both at -13%); because they do not represent ‘survival’ necessities.
As social distancing is becoming the norm, why not to exploit social media proximity?
Here are some tips organizations can adopt to survive this tumultuous period:
1. Go digital - Take advantage digital platforms to enhance your digital communications. Social media, for instance, can boost online sales or can be extremely helpful to strengthen brand awareness and loyalty.
2. Make real time adjustments - As consumer behavior shifts, make sure product information is up to date across all channels and communications to ensure you’re striking the right tone.
3. Be a source of information – Share content that is helpful and useful to customers. This shows that your company really cares for its customer base and thus enhances trust.
4. Be creative – Utilize digital tools to catch people’s attention – for example, integrate your logo into a campaign to raise awareness on the current health disease or to promote your services.
Written by: Alexandra Pirovano
Edited by: Nicola Curci