The impact of Covid-19 on customer behavior

The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting customer behaviour, and thus the way in which marketing can be applied. The use of marketing during and after Covid-19 crisis shows similarities with the way that it is carried out during economic downturns.

Amid pandemic, people is being challenged to re-evaluate their life priorities, which may lead to new values and spending criteria. There are various mega trends that have been identified in the way customers change their behaviour towards family/community/self, health and digital solutions, including:

1. Connected customers

Digitalization become more important than ever and shows how consumers, employers, employees may be able to keep operating in the future. Services such as Zoom, Google Meet are proving to be indispensable in many more situations than we were aware of previously.

Customers show the tendency to become more engaged with products and services, to attach greater value to the connections with reliable, well-known brands. Customers also are searching for reliable information about Covid-19 and its consequences. In this respect, it is reflected in greater attention paid to non-commercial websites and TV broadcasting.

2. Healthy living

Healthy lifestyle and healthy habits inside and outside home are becoming more important, and a more holistic approach to wellness is being adopted.

3. Middle class and lower class retreat

As the result of Covid-19 's affection, middle and lower class are struggling to maintain their economic position and lifestyle. Unemployment in US is increasing dramatically, and affecting about 25% of US citizens. This is leading to behaviours such as sharing products, renting and sharing.

4. Shopping reinvented

Social distancing is leading to a shift to online shopping among customers, even among who were not previously familiar with online shopping. This includes both groceries and durables. As a result, online stores are experiencing enormous increase in turnover. Covid-19 crisis has also led to a move towards buying locally produced food.

With the exception of fresh food, packaged food and home care, COVID-19 is expected to negatively affect consumer markets. Other data sources show increases in infotainment (Netflix, for example, attracted about 16 million new subscribers between April and June. Games, puzzles, etc. are also increasingly popular: the board game Trekking the World generated revenues of about $100 K in 1 week), hygiene products and wellness, digital products, gardening materials, do-it-yourself products (+ 25%), streaming services, furniture (+ 8%), and consumer electronics (16%). All this reflects the feeling that the home is a healthy bubble.

Many of these and other products are bought online. As an example: in the Netherlands, sales by online stores in the non-food sector rose by 60–70% in April 2020 (compared to normal growth of 16–18%).

Substantial decreases in consumer sales have occurred in areas such as cars (sales are 40–50% down on the same period last year), shoes (down 45%), clothes (down 60%), visits to restaurants and bars, travel, outdoor recreation (events, museums).

Knowing changes in customer behaviour, in order to succeed, marketers need to have right response to those changes.

By: VSHR Digital Media

Source: NCBI, Nov 2020

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