Study Shows Most Shoppers Won't Immediately Return to Normal

Jacqueline Barba
Digital Editor
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View the full 'COVID-19 Shopper and Retail Pulse Study' attached below.

Even as much of the world is reopening, shoppers are indicating that there are some changes brought by the pandemic that will persist, according to a new global study from experiential advertising agency Momentum Worldwide. The study reveals five key changes to consumer behavior that retailers should understand and adapt to if they want to be successful and survive in this new environment that has caused an increasing number of brands to fold.

“With the retail sector being in a constant state of flux since COVID-19, we felt it was important to get a sense of what retailers need to do to have a fighting chance at surviving the pandemic,” according to Momentum’s managing director/shopper marketing lead, Shaun Brown.

Research was conducted using mPulse, Momentum’s proprietary consumer research panel. The agency surveyed 1,600 respondents in eight markets across the U.K., U.S., Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Some of the key findings revealed by the study include:

  • The behavior of bulk buying and “the big store” is here to stay. Brands must respond with larger formats and be ready for consumers to return to their preferred household brands as 76% of consumers say this will be the case. With 78% of consumers claiming that supermarkets are the No. 1 place they will be most comfortable returning to, retailers must prepare sooner rather than later.
  • Brands should give back to the local community. 93% of consumers expect major brands to give back to the community where they operate. Retailers need to be active in helping local communities. 87% of consumers say seeing a brand give support during the pandemic has improved their perception of it and 82% agree they will seek out and buy brands that provided support during the pandemic.
  • Little luxuries are essential. 85% of people believe it’s important to reward themselves and 79% seek out little moments to reward themselves during this stressful time. Consumers are looking to products to create experiences.
  • E-commerce is the new in-store. With 79% of consumers likely to continue using grocery delivery services, the “e-experience” is now as important as in-store. Brands must improve their e-commerce to ensure they are effective and trustworthy. Trust is the biggest reason consumers choose a brand.
  • Digital advertising will increase. Retailers must emphasize digital spend. 84% of consumers now shop online since the pandemic began so brands need to shift spend accordingly to remain “seen” by consumers.

“A provocative insight we found is that while shoppers admit they are likely to continue purchasing online, the vast majority miss the in-person experience,” said director of strategy, Momentum Worldwide, Carly Johnson. “83% of study respondents said they miss shopping time with family and friends and 79% said they miss being able to touch and feel products. This suggests that it’s extremely important for retailers to continually keep a pulse on shopper attitudes and behaviors as they continue to morph, depending on consumer safety and comfort.”

Momentum Worldwide is part of the Interpublic Group of companies and aims to deliver total brand experiences by blending creativity, technology, strategy, insights and a seamless execution. The agency has been named Best Sports Marketing Agency, Best Experiential Agency, Best Place to Work, Agency of the Year and Most Honored Marketing Agency by multiple outlets and award shows around the world. Most recently, Momentum was honored with the Industry Craft Grand Prix at Cannes.

  • COVID-19 Shopper and Retail Pulse Study

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