How is COVID-19 changing current and future consumer online behavior around the world?
Across the globe the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have dramatically changed the everyday behavior of billions of people. It has had a particular impact on digital channels, with people switching to online given that many shops have been closed and consumers forced to stay at home.
What will the long-term impact be? Will people return to offline channels or has the crisis accelerated the move to digital? What does this mean for brands and their strategies, particularly around personalizing the online experience?
Analyzing the results we can see five clear conclusions:1. An immediate increase in use of digital channels after the COVID-19 crisis begins
Looking at activities such as shopping, media, eLearning, finance and healthcare, over a third of those we surveyed globally (34%) are doing more online.
2. Digital increases are here to stay after COVID-19 lockdowns end
The pandemic and lockdowns have changed digital consumer behavior for the long-term, rather than just for the length of the crisis. Nearly a quarter (24%) of people said they’d do more on digital channels when lockdowns were relaxed, with the highest figures in the US (29%) and Italy (28%). 61% of global respondents said they’d use both channels dependent on their situation, and just 15% said they switch back to mostly using offline channels.
3. Brands letting consumers down when it comes to a personalized experience
With digital now being the default channel for the majority of consumers, the experience that brands provide is vital if they are to engage with their visitors, build trust and create long-term revenues. However, study shows that many brands are failing to deliver the personalized experience that consumers demand.
4. The impact of the experience on future purchases
The study demonstrates a clear link between the quality of the digital experience currently being delivered and future buying behavior:
- Two-thirds (66%) said it would change who they bought from
- 41% will spend less or switch from brands that have not delivered on their needs at the current time
- On the positive side 21% will buy more from brands that have delivered a good, personalized experience
What benefits do consumers see in adopting digital channels? Understanding this is vital if brands are to provide the service and experience that best meets their needs and to therefore cement the switch to digital.
Overall most consumers saw the principal benefit of digital as saving money, ahead of saving time.