Customer Connections and Mindful Consumption – the future of consumer behaviour

In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic our report, Beyond COVID-19 spoke to the shift from panic buying to mindful consumption amongst Australian consumers. Sadly, despite some of the great strides we made in suppressing the spread of the virus, in the last fortnight the state of Victoria was put back into lockdown highlighting that the threat is still very real. While we look cautiously optimistic to the future, vigilance will continue to remain in the forefront of consumers’ minds for the foreseeable future, leading to sustained changes in their shopping behaviour.

In the recently published new global research report, Consumers and the New Reality, consumer behaviours and attitudes have evolved through the COVID-19 experience across 12 countries, regions and territories including Australia, surveying more than 12,000 consumers.

Globally, we are witnessing the emergence of a new consumer — one that is financially constrained, more advanced in their use of digital technologies, more thoughtful and selective in their decision-making, and keen to see COVID-19 as an opportunity to reset values in the world.

It is no surprise that 40 percent of the Australian respondents consider themselves financially constrained due to the impact of the pandemic, with ramifications in consumer spending habits for the foreseeable future.

Australian customers are less inclined to pay a premium for a branded product.

Eight out of 10 Australians said ‘value for money’ would now be the most important purchase driver.

Further to this, when it comes to shopping for the essentials (groceries), 58 percent said ‘perceived value’ was important with price, 51 percent, naming this as important when deselecting goods.

These results reflect the concept of the ‘mindful consumer’ and the focus on needs based consumption rather than wants. With people more financially strained than they had anticipated prior to the pandemic, the emphasis on ‘value’ is top of mind and shopping tied more to necessity than desire.

For non-grocery items, ‘shopping-from-home’ has risen and will only continue to rise.

While the results of the survey indicate 80 percent of Australians are likely to continue the same routine of physically going to the shops to do their groceries, when it comes to non-grocery shopping, over half the respondents (52 percent) are less likely to shop at physical retailers and instead purchase from the comfort of their homes.

While some of this behaviour comes down to COVID-19 restrictions, retailers shouldn’t expect the ‘old normal’ store traffic to come through their doors anytime soon. Unsurprisingly social distancing was the catalyst behind the rise in online non-grocery retail (49 percent of respondents chose this as an option), however with 44 percent marking convenience and delivery as the reason for change, it appears online shopping is here to stay. Now is the time for retailers to be optimising their online marketplace and delivery options to maintain market share.

Locally made products are desirable.

If this pandemic has highlighted anything, it’s that we are all in this together. This sentiment transcends into retail with people wanting to get behind local suppliers rather than sourcing goods from overseas. This particularly applies to grocery shopping.

Globally, results showed approximately 23 percent of customer’s brand choice is whether it originates locally or not. This is in comparison to ‘Well-Known Brands’ where only approximately 7 percent indicated familiarity would drive their purchasing decisions.

In Australia, 65 percent indicated they are now more likely to buy some local products. This figure is only a positive for our nation’s manufacturers and producers.

Without a doubt community spirit will be in the forefront of many shoppers minds for the foreseeable future, so ensuring local products are stocked and readily available will be a key in future prosperity for retailers.

To read more about the future trends in Retail worldwide, please follow the link.

To read more about Mindful Consumption in Australian retail, please follow the link.

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