What Consumers Want From Brands Amid COVID-19

Influence Central

Usually in crisis times, such as post-9/11, people turn to each other for comfort – it’s intrinsic to our human nature. For the first time in modern history, we face a crisis in physical isolation and with rising anxiety. 

Influence Central recently fielded an online study to discern consumer behavior changes and heard back from over 700 consumers on its testing panel.

The company, which works with more than 300 brand partners each year on influencer marketing, wanted to capture the latest in consumer behaviors to better inform how brands should respond during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The public can’t turn to its typical coping skills – working out, dinner with friends, group sports. Add into the mix working from home, massive layoffs and deep uncertainty, and consumers’ lives have been severely upended.

Here’s what consumers shared with Influence Central about life since the stay-at-home economy went into effect for them:

What Consumers Want Most From Brands

It is important for brands to recognize the anxiety held by consumers surrounding the economy. 

In all, 85% of survey respondents believe we are heading toward a recession. Then 44% of consumers are increasingly worried about their short-term finances, compared to 58% are greatly worried about their long-term finances

In light of these anxieties, consumers first and foremost are looking for deals, help, reassurance and brands giving back.

Deals and Cost Savings

During COVID-19, 88% of consumers most value cost-saving promotions from brands. More than 82% of consumers value all of the following while enduring the stay-home economy:

    • 88% search for cost-saving promotions
    • 86% of consumers seek deals while shopping
    • 83% want freebies with their purchase
    • 82% find discounting valuable

Direct Customer Support

The brands that positively stand out to consumers are focused on their consumers' needs during a difficult, unprecedented time. 

  • 61% want customer support from brands
  • 58% are impressed by brands providing a necessary service during the pandemic
  • 55% value brands making changes to their normal business to help their consumers

Brands Helping Out Communities
In addition, consumers value:

  • Responsible brand messaging regarding COVID-19 (58%)
  • Charitable contributions by the brand (54%)
  • Brands addressing novel coronavirus concerns (50%)

What Consumers Don’t Like or Value From Brands

Don’t go silent – 29% of consumers feel discomfort when a favorite brand has remained silent during the outbreak. So brands face the balancing act of being in the conversation without becoming the situation. 

Humor or Comedic Relief? Nah.
Most consumers (79%) don’t trust brands to use humor when discussing COVID-19.

Direct Product Charitable Give-Back Component Not Crucial
Only 37% of consumers gravitate towards purchases that have a charitable give-back component.

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