3 Key Themes Shaping Buyer Behavior in 2020

2020 has been an interesting year, to say the least. I’m as sick of talking about (and living, let’s be honest) the COVID-19 nightmare as everyone else. But there’s no mistaking the current pandemic will have a lasting impact on buyer behavior as local and global economies begin to bounce back and businesses attempt to resume “business as usual”.

How have buyer behaviors and outlook changed during the current coronavirus outbreak? And how will these changes impact your ability to continue to grow your business and revenue?

A recent report released by Brandwatch offers some insight. In the ‘Will COVID-19 Change Consumer Behavior in the Long-term’ report, Brandwatch surveyed 6,915 people across Australia, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain, the UK, and the US, examined search data, and analyzed public conversations across social networks, blogs, and forums to determine how buyers have changed their buying behaviors and attitudes since the global pandemic began. 

Here are the three key themes we saw echoed throughout their findings:

 

Buyer Behavior #1: Frugality 

In addition to dealing with a public health crisis, we’re also dealing with an economic crisis. As such, buyers are putting off big-ticket purchases including homes and automobiles. But they haven’t ceased spending completely. According to the report, “While bigger purchases are being put off, people are still planning to make smaller (arguably essential) ones.” In the survey findings, 73% of people who planned to buy new clothes or shoes this year still plan to. While many US citizens are reportedly spending government-issued stimulus checks on smaller scale items ranging from sneakers to books to video games.  

To save money, today’s buyers are also painting and fixing up their existing furnishings rather than buy pricy new furniture items for the home.

 

Buyer Behavior #2: Simplicity 

As the pandemic continues to complicate the lives of so many global citizens, buyers are looking for ways to simplify. The report notes, “March saw 86% more social posts about organizing the home than January did, while Marie Kondo has seen a boost in social mentions and Google searches.” 

And while nearly half of respondents are canceling 2020 vacations, “staycation” mentions were up 41% in January through April, compared to the same time last year. Those still planning to take a vacation this year are foregoing traditional trips in favor of camping, hiking, or backpacking plans. 

 

Buyer Behavior #3: Reflection

More time at home has meant a lot more time for people to reflect on what’s important to them and what they want out of the work they do. Before the pandemic, 15% of survey respondents had planned to move jobs and 67% of those consumers still plan to make a job transition this year. Brandwatch notes, “The proportion who still plan to switch roles is remarkably high given the tumultuous job market right now.”

Buyers are also rethinking the products they use in their homes and the food they put into their bodies with 36% of respondents more concerned with products being “healthy” than they were before the outbreak, 33% more concerned with products being locally sourced than before the outbreak, and 30% more concerned with products being more durable and higher quality than before the outbreak. 

 

What do these buyer behaviors mean for businesses?

As pandemic era buyers look to do more with less, and in some cases, make difficult decisions about where to spend their money, businesses will have to adapt. Here are some takeaways:

  • Companies selling pricy, big-ticket items will have to work harder to make consumers feel safe shopping in physical stores as these purchases are less likely to happen online. 
  • Where possible, today’s companies should prioritize the use of ethically/sustainably and locally sourced materials in products. 
  • Today’s consumers are more health-conscious than before the pandemic and will increasingly look for healthy options on restaurant menus and grocery shelves. 
  • Increasingly cost-conscious consumers investing in big-ticket purchases will focus more on quality and durability.
  • Affordability and price will always play a role in purchase decisions, but even more so in times of economic uncertainty. 

What changes do you plan to make to your business model or product line to address changing buyer behaviors? What changes have you already made? Join the conversation on social: