Nothing like the combination of a pandemic and global lockdown to shake up consumer habits. I mean, who knew that toilet paper and sourdough starters would become hot ticket items in 2020?! More than one year into washing our hands every five minutes and never leaving home without a mask, let’s agree, shopping is forever changed.
While some people are understandably keeping a tight grip on their finances, others are wondering what to do with the mounds of cash that were once earmarked for lavish evenings, coveted sports events, and the latest fast-fashion must-haves.
According to KPMG, despite the economic ravages of COVID-19, nearly 50 percent of consumers describe themselves as “financially comfortable.” But with businesses shutting down nearly everywhere, where is their money going? Let’s take a closer look at spending in the time of Corona.
BOOM AND BUST
Since we’ve got nowhere to go but home, airlines and cruise ships are some of the biggest losers, putting entire unsinkable industries in jeopardy. Anything that once relied on in-person experiences is also on ice. Our hearts go out to wedding planners, bar owners and performers of all stripes.
However, as anyone who has tried to get their hands on a bike, sewing machine, or puppy will tell you, other sectors are on fire. If only I’d had a crystal ball, we’d all have shares in hand sanitizer, plexiglass, and Zoom.
Feathering the Nest
Being stuck at home gets old fast, so it’s no wonder that sales of home furnishings are through the roof. In fact, demand is so high, it’s brought some suppliers and courier services to their knees. Consumers are grasping for higher-ticket items, splurging on luxuries that were once purely aspirational. For example, the annual winter getaway budget has been reinvested in a memory-foam mattress, a new dining set, or even all-out home renos. And, with the fine weather season upon us, now’s the time to order your garden supplies and patio furniture before they all sell out like last summer.
Shifting Allegiances: A Local and Digital World
Without their usual brick-and-mortar shrines, retailers have had to pivot online to connect to their loyal fan base. This means more promo codes and special offers than ever before. Businesses who have not yet made the digital leap are scrambling to catch up. Beyond your basic website, Click & Collect and booking solutions have become a must. Close to half of consumers anticipate that their main interactions with brands will occur online.
The pandemic has also seen a decrease in brand trust. To regain their following, companies need to communicate their values on the web. Customers want to know that their beloved brands are still there for them. They want to hear that their safety matters, and that we’ll get through this together.
Meanwhile, as more and more store owners paper up their windows, conscious consumers are showing support for local businesses and craftspeople. And remarkably, they’re even willing to pay more to help keep their neighbourhoods alive. This is good news for small businesses, as long as they’ve managed to make their mark on the Internet!
On the Horizon
It’s anybody’s guess how the next 12 months will play out. The vaccine roll-out has everybody excited for a new, “back-to-normal” reality. So, if you ordered that crystal ball on Amazon, by all means, give us a heads up on where we should put our money—once we’ve cleared out our closets of hand sanitizer. What products will define the next unknown era where we might even stand face to face less than six feet apart?
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