The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to alter consumer behaviours permanently and cause lasting structural changes to the consumer goods and retail industries, according to findings of an Accenture survey of more than 3,000 consumers in 15 countries across five continents.
The survey, which was conducted between April 2 and April 6, after many countries had implemented stay-at-home orders, found that consumers have already begun shifting their purchasing priorities. For instance, consumers overall said they were currently buying more personal hygiene and cleaning products, as well as canned and fresh foods than they had been two weeks prior — while purchasing fewer fashion, beauty and consumer electronics items.
More importantly, however, the findings indicate that many of the changes in consumer behavior are likely to continue long after the pandemic. In addition, the crisis is also causing consumers to more seriously consider the health and environmental impacts of their shopping choices. For instance:
· 60 per cent of respondents are spending more time on self-care and mental well-being, with about six in 10 consumers (57 per cent) saying they have started exercising more at home;
· 64 per cent of consumers said they’re focusing more on limiting food waste and will likely continue to do so going forward;
· 50 per cent of consumers said they’re shopping more health-consciously and will likely to continue to do so; and
· 45 per cent of consumers said they’re making more sustainable choices when shopping and will likely continue to do so.
“The scale of the changes identified in our findings clearly suggest that this is a long-term shift,” said Oliver Wright, managing director and head of Accenture’s global Consumer Goods practice. “While we have been seeing these trends for some time, what’s surprising is the scale and pace — compressing into a matter of weeks changes that would likely have taken years. The new consumer behavior and consumption is expected to outlast the pandemic, stretching far beyond 18 months and possibly for much of the current decade.”
Pandemic is accelerating digital adoption
Not surprisingly, the survey found that the pandemic is causing more people to shop for groceries online. In fact, one in five respondents who said their most-recent grocery purchase was done online were first-time online grocery shoppers — for older consumers, this was one in three. And while 32 per cent of consumers’ current purchases of all products and services have been online, that figure is expected to rise to 37 per cent going forward.
“The realignment of purchasing priorities, personal lifestyles, and working practices is mandating significant changes to retail and commerce,” said Glenn Heppell, Products Lead, Accenture Australia and New Zealand. “Groceries were, until recently, one area in which many people were reluctant to shop online, but COVID-19 has quickly changed that. The findings show how people who haven’t been as comfortable with ecommerce and other digital technology have been pushed to overcome their hesitancy — and this shift is huge. As organisations adapt, their watchwords must be trust, relevance and convenience.”
COVID-19 is also accelerating digital adoption more broadly. For instance, the number of consumers who said they’re interested in buying or increasing their use of technology has increased dramatically. More than half of respondents said they are likely to increase their usage of voice-enabled digital assistants, online recommendation apps, self-service apps, intelligent home devices and wearables.
“The pandemic is likely to produce a more sustainable, healthier era of consumption over the next 10 years, making consumers think more about balancing what they buy and how they spend their time with global issues of sustainability — suggesting a healthier human habitation of the planet,” Heppell said. “At the same time, it’s a wake-up call for companies to ensure they have the agility and capability to be relevant to consumers and customers — with a portfolio of products and services that match shifting purchasing patterns — not just today, but post-pandemic as well.”
Please login with linkedin to commentAccenture
Leading Australian market research data brand, RDA Research, provides actionable consumer intelligence to help businesses inform decision making and growth strategies. RDA Research wanted to make its unique consumer data available for addressable digital targeting and required a data onboarding partner to help activate their data in an online environment.
Storytelling agency Enthral has appointed Channel 7 reporter and sports presenter Sean Sowerby as its new senior PR and content manager in Melbourne. Sowerby (pictured) started his award-winning career at 3AW before spending more than 15 years in television. Enthral founder and manager director, Cameron Smith, spoke of the significance of Sowerby joining the agency. […]
This week Nova’s Fitzy & Wippa are celebrating 10 years of their iconic radio show and plenty of famous faces have weighed in on the feat! For Fitzy & Wippa’s 10-year anniversary show they were joined by a bunch of special friends who shared their messages and favourite memories over the last decade. The guys […]
Ever since Google first announced it would be getting rid of third-party cookies on Chrome, digital advertising businesses have been actively sharing their plans for life after cookies. And now programmatic advertising company Blis might have come up with the most creative way to get the message across, in a new video which sees company […]
Integrated Melbourne agency Icon has taken top honours in the 2021 SABRE Awards, winning the coveted Australasian Consultancy of the Year for 2021 along with a host of category and craft awards. Icon led a large field of Australian agencies with a total of three major and seven minor awards, including gold in the cause-related […]
Former agency executives Tim O’Neill and Tim Fouhy have launched the auto technology startup Summon. Australia’s first full e-commerce service for prestige cars. O’Neill and Fouhy both founded Reactive, a digital agency, which was bought by Accenture in 2016. Following the deal, O’Neill and Fouhy ended up leading the company’s digital marketing arm, Accenture Interactive before […]