COVID consumer study reveals interest in brand discovery, small business

by | Feb 22, 2021 | Covid-19, Public Relations

With the COVID crisis lingering and intensifying, new research from marketing solutions firm Vericast explores evolving consumer behaviors and media consumption in 2021.

Based on responses from 1,000 U.S. adults, consumers are doing their part to support small businesses, with 53 percent buying from local restaurants and 33 percent shopping at local retailers—specifically to support them through the pandemic. Additionally, consumers are more open to exploring new retailers and restaurants amid the pandemic. These behaviors have been driven by valuable offers (28 percent and 25 percent for retailers and restaurants, respectively), motivations to try something new (24 percent and 33 percent), and convenience/ease of ordering (19 percent and 25 percent).

Consumers continue to favor convenience and plan to maintain the accelerated use of pick-up and delivery services post-pandemic. New shopping behaviors adopted as part of their routine in the future, include the increased use of convenient services such as restaurant carry-out (29 percent), third-party delivery (27 percent), buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) (21 percent) and grocery delivery (17 percent).

“The extreme events of the past year led to dramatic shifts in consumer behavior,” said Carrie Parker, SVP of marketing at Vericast, in a news release. “People changed the way they live, shop and consume media, and our research shows that consumers are eager to discover new products and services and are desiring convenience and—above all—savings. For marketers, this year it’s critical to really understand your target consumers’ shifting behaviors and motivations and evolve with them, engaging across new media and connecting dots to deliver meaningful experiences and offers that meet their needs in specific moments.”

Additional findings include:

Consumers miss in-store experiences

The elements consumers miss most about the in-store experience include browsing/discovering new products (45 percent), trying on apparel (40 percent) and testing products in-person (34 percent).

Streaming TV usage is accelerating

More than half (57 percent) of consumers have increased time spent watching streaming TV during the coronavirus pandemic.

Fitness resolutions begin at-home

While the first two months of each year are often a high-volume month for gym membership sales, only 13 percent of consumers plan to purchase in-person gym memberships; 12 percent plan to purchase virtual/at-home workout subscriptions.

The top planned purchases for consumers in the self-care and wellness categories over the next two months include stress relief products (23 percent) and exercise equipment (21 percent).

To understand shifting consumer behaviors and purchasing decisions, 1,000 consumers were surveyed. All respondents were located in the United States and were over the age of 18. The survey was conducted in December 2020.

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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; @BulldogReporter


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