2021 consumer expectations are shifting—and opportunities for innovation abound

by | Nov 22, 2021 | Public Relations

With a post-pandemic retail environment looming, and a critical holiday shopping season in full swing, brands and marketers continue to struggle to understand the “new normal” consumer. New research from consulting firm CapTech Ventures sheds light on today’s enigmatic shoppers with new insights into how consumer purchasing behaviors, perceptions, and needs have evolved in 2021.

“We learned that personalization, accessibility, inclusivity, and innovation are key purchasing influencers as we approach 2022,” said Vinnie Schoenfelder, CTO at CapTech, in a news release. “Consumers have adopted new behaviors made possible by technology and these behaviors will likely continue to impact businesses in the long term.”

Key takeaways from the firm’s second annual consumer survey:

Spending is back, but with an eye toward the future and a focus on essentials

Consumers have maintained a permanent shift in prioritizing their spending on essentials; however, in the past six months, spending on non-essential items has increased.

  • Non-essential spending increased 7 percent from 2020 to 2021
  • Travel increased 25 percent from 2020-2021

Being accessible and inclusive has a significant influence on purchasing

With less emphasis on health standards, being accessible and inclusive have become important factors.

  • 64 percent ranked a business being inclusive and accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities, as influential on purchasing decisions

The price must be right, but availability and trusted brands are also valued

Consumers continue to look for alternative shopping methods and tech solutions for everyday activities.

  • 83 percent said price was a top influencing purchasing factor, while 55 percent rank trusted brand as a top influencing purchasing factor
  • 69 percent are influenced by discounting or waiting shipping/delivery fees

Digital savviness & consumption are here to stay

Streaming entertainment, ordering online, and mobile phone usage have all continued to increase from pre-pandemic use—potentially indicating a permanent shift in behavior.

  • 66 percent would like to continue shopping online
  • 45 percent would like to continue using curbside pickup or drive up using an app

Innovative technologies continue to meet changing needs

Consumers are interested in continued and future usage of technologies like online chat, virtual appointments, and paying with a smart device.

  • Almost half of consumers used live chat and made a virtual appointment in the last six months

Personalization and convenience drive data sharing

Compared to other purchasing influencers like availability and cost, consumers are less interested in personalization; however, consumers are willing to exchange data for a more personalized experience.

  • 45 percent of consumers have used personalized correspondence, sales, ads, and product recommendations when making a purchasing decision
  • 49 percent are willing to share data in exchange for discounts, perks, & convenience

The survey was conducted in September 2021 using a statistically significant national census-based population sample via SurveyMonkey. It is representative of the general U.S. population.

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 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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