Top 10 Emerging Behaviors During Social Distancing

The world is two months into social distancing. Customers across all categories are shifting behaviors, impacting some brands more than others. Some of these behaviors will fade as the economy re-opens, but others will be long-lasting, creating implications for how brands market and distribute to their customers.

Since social distancing began in mid-March, we’ve connected with thousands of customers through virtual research techniques including in-home smart speakers like Alexa and Google Home. Here is what we’ve seen as emerging behaviors and potential impacts on brand marketers:

1. There is a great deal more dependence on do-it-yourself (DIY) offerings, especially around cooking, exercise, and hobbies. Some consumers seeking value during these challenging economic times may stay with these DIY approaches instead of returning to paying more for eating out and gym memberships.

2. An initial spike in the purchase of virus-fighting necessities such as cleaning goods and over-the-counter fever medicines are stabilizing but will continue to be critical staples for people.

3. People will continue to seek “sanity” items such as alcoholic beverages, in-home and online entertainment, and electronics as some level of social distancing will remain in place for the foreseeable future, and most entertainment venues are closed for the summer.

Customers across all categories are shifting behaviors, impacting some brands more than others. Some of these behaviors will fade as the economy re-opens, but others will be long-lasting, creating implications for how brands market and distribute to their customers.”

4. Customers continue to be concerned about personal health and safety as states slowly open up, so more “social gathering” brands like restaurants and fitness clubs will need to assure customers that their safety is a top priority.

5. People have grown very comfortable with online grocery shopping and delivery, and many will never go back to shopping primarily in a store. Brands in the retail grocery and food categories will need to adjust their production, staffing, accessibility, and marketing efforts to address this long-term shift.

6. Curb-side pickup is attractive to customers both for social distancing reasons as well as the perceived convenience, especially for heavier or larger items purchased at home improvement stores. Providing this option to customers could be a competitive advantage for brands.

7. Media consumption has increased dramatically, with people migrating to a variety of formats such as online games, streaming movies, podcasts and audio books. These shifts could have a big impact on advertisers as they assess how to allocate resources across different formats.

8. Self-care has become very important to people, and they are investing more in preventative care such as vitamins, probiotics, as well as hair and skin treatments. Brands in these categories that bring new innovations to market are likely to attract new customers.

9. Family mealtime is back, instead of individual grab-and-go meals at different times during the day. This could change how food marketers size their packages

10. Food and recipe experimentations are a big trend. Giving customers easy and affordable ways to try new ingredients and meal ideas could be a way for brands to deepen loyalty and engagement with customers.

What are the actions that your brand should take as new behaviors emerge? The first step is to identify which of these are most likely to impact your category, and then to determine quick, efficient ways to speak to your customers to gain insights on how to adjust  your offerings, and be positioned for success in this evolving marketplace.

Want to discuss more about your customers’ changing needs?

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