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Wednesday | January 27 | 2021

COVID-19 is changing consumer behavior worldwide

COVID-19 is having a lasting, worldwide impact on consumer needs, preferences and behaviors, according to a new report from KPMG International.

The survey tracks consumer trends between May and September 2020 across five industry sectors: consumer & retail (grocery and non-grocery), banking, insurance, entertainment & leisure and travel & tourism.

Overall, the survey finds that consumers tend to trust brands less than they did pre-COVID 19.

Insurance was the only sector to see a consistent net gain in trust in the May to September period; while travel & tourism and entertainment & leisure suffered the greatest erosion of brand trust.

All sectors generally saw a modest increase in brand trust in September, with the exception of banking, which held even.

Retailers will need to better understand the needs of the customer groups — via segmentation driven by AI and psychometrics. Personalization not only of communications, but also of developed products, will be key to meeting the needs of the new consumer. Besides, consumers are gravitating toward brands that are empathetic and supportive of their values.

Consumer Commerce is the future. Bricks and mortar will remain an important channel although we know channel agnostic and customer centric is key and the competition will be much broader than today’s retail.”

Nearly half, 45 percent, of respondents do not feel a strong financial impact, which could mean opportunities for businesses that are able to meet the new consumer’s expectations.

All consumers predict they will spend less in the next 6-12 months and all are prioritizing savings. Perhaps not surprisingly, ‘value for money’ is ranked as the key purchase driver.

Key trends in consumer behavior

  • Two in five (43 percent) of consumers are worried about their financial security in 2021
  • More than one-third (36 percent), are prioritizing savings over spending
  • 37 percent are working from home more, and 60 percent plan to do so more in the future
  • One in five (20 percent) want to stay at home as much as possible
  • Confidence in public transportation has declined 37 percent compared to before COVID-19
  • Net spend is expected to be 21 percent less over the next 6-12 months, versus pre-COVID-19
  • Close to half (45 percent) predict digital channels will be their main connection to brands
  • “Value for money” is ranked by 63 percent as the top purchase criteria
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