The Trends that will Stay with us and Change Marketing after COVID-19
COVID-19 indeed has brought about many changes in marketing trends and consumer behavior. Some of these trends have changed the demographics and equilibrium of how businesses operate and what will be the futuristic approach. However, the changes that are expected to be taken by marketers are unprecedented.
We already know of some disruptive transformations that will determine the consumer’s attitude and ethics post pandemic. Continue reading for some of our favorite insights:
Brand Loyalty is Eroding
As the pandemic wore on, consumers changed their priorities. While some took to food shopping to survive, others were forced to take longer journeys or to visit more distant stores, only to find empty shelves. As a direct consequence, brand loyalty declined (according to Loyalty Statistics by Access), with an average 50% of consumers stating that they felt less loyal than before, and nearly one-third of consumers reporting a decrease in brand loyalty.
There was also a noticeable increase in brand switching and shopping avoidance activities. However, no one is panicking. Instead understand that brands should counteract their losses in brand loyalty by using data to personalize and target consumers more effectively.
As the pandemic escalated, brands that couldn’t manage to localize and scale, as well as those that couldn’t deploy a one-size-fits-all broad message, were not considered proactive in their approach and were often perceived negatively. Several other brands managed to localize their packaging, but not their product offerings. As a result, consumers who could not find their usual products and brands started looking for substitutes. In some cases, the substitutes worked, while in other cases, they did not. As we talk about the localized brand, we’re not just talking about brands that ensure proper assortment and availability of products. These brands also ensured that they curated their packages and their offers to suit the geographical area and the demographics of the market. This emphasis on localization can make brands 2x more effective.
The Rise of the Crib Economy
Since the outbreak, US grocery sales fell by as much as 30% (depending on the region) with almost half the discretionary food-shopping dollars spent on coffee, craft beer, and dry toilet paper. The most significant positive contributor to grocery volume in the second quarter of 2019 is home meal replacement kits, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner items and to-go snacks. Home meal replacement has become the top contributor to food sales in the last year, with the most substantial growth coming from those consumers with higher per capita incomes who might not have been expected to make a run on this category. Meanwhile, those consumers with a lower per capita income are turning to restaurants. This suggests that it is crucial for brands and retailers to embrace ‘crib economics’, being prepared to serve all household members (including babies) rather than just catering to those spending discretionary income.
Brands are more valuable than ever
According to the latest Diageo Research Wave findings, brand trust has increased and brand passion has decreased. Brand power is also on the rise, while ‘perceived risk and concern’ is on the decline. So, despite the social media churn and the overall shortened attention span of consumers, word of mouth is still a powerful marketing tool: if consumers feel supported, they’ll keep talking.
To date, the success or failure of brands has largely been viewed through a social media lens. But you must try harder – although social media was a great place to start shaking off the dust and regaining footing, it shouldn’t be the end-all, be-all of marketing. Brands must understand that while the pandemic has been devastating and disruptive, it has also created an opportunity for fresh behavior and attitude change among consumers, which in turn can create a springboard for growth.