As social anxiety is at a high, people continue to report concern and fear for the months ahead. To better understand consumer sentiment and quickly changing consumer behavior, Capgemini surveyed 11,000 consumers across the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Spain, India and China.
With cities and urban areas under strict quarantine, Capgemini’s data found that consumers worldwide plan to continue low interaction with physical stores. While 59 percent of consumers said they had “high levels of interaction with physical stores before COVID-19,” today only 24 percent see themselves in that category. And post-pandemic, only 39 percent of consumers said they expect to have a high level of interaction with physical stores.
Instead, the company notes that the use of online channels will continue to increase in consumer interactions. According to the research, there has been a 7 percent increase in consumers who say they have high levels of interaction with online channels. The company predicts that over the next six to nine months, online interaction will continue to accelerate.
Still, consumers will return to physical stores, though with adjusted expectations. In the company’s survey, 77 percent of consumers said they will be more cautious about cleanliness, health and safety when returning to stores after quarantine. Further, consumers will be looking for brands who do the same, with 62 percent of respondents saying they will “switch to brands that show higher levels of product safety.” And 46 percent of consumers said they now prefer usage of digital payments in-store, with 41 percent adding a preference for non-touch-based self-checkout systems.
Notably, 54 percent of consumers said they will show preference to local or regional products over imported items. More than half of consumers said they expect detailed product information including product origin both today and in a post-pandemic future.
Concurrently, the company finds that consumers will additionally insist on the assurance of safety from last-mile delivery providers. Today, 49 percent of respondents said they prefer to shop from organizations offering safe delivery practices. This includes delivery practices that highlight the sanitization of packages and minimal human contact. Capgemini notes they expect this preference will sustain over the next six to nine months.
Accordingly, Capgemini’s research finds consumers continued interest in sustainability from companies, seeing that “consumers prefer retailers to embody a sense of purpose in the crisis and beyond.” To illustrate, in a question asking consumers of individual conscious levels of conservation of natural resources they found that 67 percent of consumers “will be more conscious about conservation of natural resources once the pandemic is over” and 65 percent of consumers “will be more mindful in their purchase habits once the pandemic is over.”
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