How Covid-19 Fosters New Purchasing Behavior

Consumers are expected to stick to their Covid behaviors. Read our brief guide on how brands can ready themselves.

The author(s)

  • Emmanuel Probst Senior Vice President, Brand Health Tracking
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Is this a tipping point for online shopping in some categories? Ipsos data shows consumers plan to keep on ordering groceries and meals online after the COVID-19 crisis. Here’s how retailers and brick-and-mortar brands can adapt to the changing needs of their customers.

Early in 2019, Ipsos showed that 83% of consumers were aware they could technically buy online and pickup in the store. But most shoppers preferred to go to stores to see and touch products, or simply because they enjoyed browsing and getting out of the house. Many also believed buying online was risky, error-prone, or simply .

With COVID, many new users

Mandatory store closures and stay-at-home orders forced people to use technology to purchase essential products and order meals. Half of adults have tried a new technology since the beginning of the crisis, including 33% of those over 55 years old. Also, 10% used delivery/pick up from restaurants and 9% ordered groceries online for the first time.

This translated into a surge in grocery app downloads by consumers who had never placed an online grocery order. As of Aril 5th, the Walmart Grocery app saw a 460% growth in average daily downloads, in comparison with its January 2020 performance. In the U.S alone, 14.4 million people downloaded a shopping app in the first week of April, up 20% from January.

After COVID, people will stick with new brands, new behavior, and new expectations

This forced shift in shopping habits will likely lead to a permanent changed in buying behavior. Indeed, the Ipsos Coronavirus Consumer Tracker reveals that 78% of those who bought something new will continue to use this same brand/product. Also, 40% of participants report they will keep their new grocery shopping routine.

Consumers are also bringing new brands into their routine as many of their favorite products were out of stock. Interestingly, 38% of consumers who have switched brands report they are likely to stay after the crisis ends.

What this means for brands

COVID is accelerating the structural shift towards online interaction, e-commerce, and Buy Online Pickup In Store (BOPIS). Consumers have a host of new needs and are adopting technology to meet them. In anticipation for the “new normal,” brands should:

  • Establish a direct connection with consumers: When Nike had to close all its stores in China, it concurrently deployed a fitness app to help homebound consumers do quarantine workouts.
  • Make your brand convenient and accessible: COVID-19 has also evolved the meaning of perceived value. Consumers are increasingly focused on physical availability (52%) and convenience (40%).
  • Continue to invest in advertising to keep your brand salient and relevant: Reflecting on 40+ years of analyzing brands, Ipsos has identified that brands that in advertising during a recession recover faster and outperform competitors after a downturn ends.
  • Research and understand changes in buying behavior, overall attitude, and brand sentiment: Now is a crucial time to research, as new consumers interact with your brand for the first time and existing customers increasingly rely on technology to access your products.

The author(s)

  • Emmanuel Probst Senior Vice President, Brand Health Tracking

Consumer & Shopper