Dramatic changes in consumer behavior emerge during COVID—and it may stay this way

by | Apr 28, 2020 | Covid-19, Public Relations

We’ve learned a lot about our lifestyles and patterns as consumers during the COVID pandemic, and as we start to see a possible end in sight to the crisis, the big question on the minds of business and consumer marketers is the degree to which we’ll go back to our regular pre-crisis lives.

New research from ACUPOLL Precision Research finds that consumers have new expectations on everything from advertising to shopping to private label products. The firm’s latest comprehensive nationwide poll is based on three waves of research involving over 3,000 consumers.

Dramatic changes in consumer behavior emerge during COVID—and it may stay this way

“This research represents a unique window into the hearts, minds, and evolving behavior of consumers by posing questions we haven’t seen anyone else ask about,” said Jeff Goldstein, president of ACUPOLL Precision Research, in a news release.

Dramatic changes in consumer behavior emerge during COVID—and it may stay this way

Highlights of the research:

Glass half full

Eighty percent of consumers view this crisis as an opportunity to shift gears. Half of these want to ‘reset’ and enjoy or accomplish things they haven’t before. The other half wants to be more prepared—including on the health and financial fronts.

Advertisers change your ways

Ninety percent want companies to change how they advertise. Chief among these is helping educate about the crisis, encourage good behavior, and giving back to the community.

Dramatic changes in consumer behavior emerge during COVID—and it may stay this way

Special delivery

Forty percent of consumers appreciate grocery pickup or delivery more than before the crisis.

Going private

Across paper and food categories, 25 percent of consumers appreciate private labels more than before the crisis. Conversely, about the same appreciate name brands more.

The new influencers

Qualitative comments reveal people may idolize stars, sports figures and influencers less. And, they will appreciate police, EMT’s, doctors and nurses more.

Less division in the country

People see hope: political parties working together more, lots of positivity in the nation. Citizens believe a sense of compassion and community will continue.

Dramatic changes in consumer behavior emerge during COVID—and it may stay this way

Enthusiasts vs. Resistors

Around 20 percent of those who used to participate in sports/leisure, dining out and shopping plan to do these things less after the crisis. In every category, brands will battle to gain momentum among the enthusiasts, and regain the trust/confidence of the resistors. Winning among enthusiasts is more crucial than ever. Social distance will become the “new healthy.”

Dramatic changes in consumer behavior emerge during COVID—and it may stay this way

Get out of town

When asked, what’s the first activity you want to do after the crisis, second highest response (19 percent) was travel.

What’s essential

Sixty percent have decreased non-essential spending; 34% have even decreased spending they consider to be essential.

Dramatic changes in consumer behavior emerge during COVID—and it may stay this way

Branching out

Forty-four percent of consumers have branched out and tried something new, suggesting this may be a time for some experimentation and indulgence, and to build new loyalties.

Comfort food

We’re much more likely to be turning to comfort foods or snacks than trying out new recipes.

Download the full report here.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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