Consumer behaviour in a flux during Covid-19

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Consumer behaviour in a flux during Covid-19

Saturday, 19 June 2021 | ABASH PARIDA

This Covid-19 pandemic has redefined the use technology.  It has become a bridge to connect with each other and society as a whole. However, digital technology during pandemic is imbued with inequalities. These inequalities can be seen and felt in every sphere of life. But on the other hand, it is dogged with many possibilities.

Technological outreach is so prominent in this Covid outbreak that we can ignore but not avoid it. Evolutionary consumer behaviour is through the roof during this pandemic.  Online shopping, digital banking and e-commerce are now considered as new normal. We are marching towards a contactless economy. It is more rapid due to this pandemic.

There are many reports and surveys which allow us to know the consumer behaviour during this pandemic. The major outcome of all these reports depicts the consumer’s choice to go digital, its motivation to shopping and its vision to increase saving.

During this on-going pandemic, consumers strongly want to be safe and healthy. Effects of health crisis, unavailability of better healthcare facilities, economic fallout, natural disasters and inappropriate Covid social behaviour during this pandemic are compelling consumers to think as well as to act out of box. Indeed, to some extent, it instils a spine chilling fear to get back to normal again. Consumers need an assurance to get the fundamental safety. Safety may be in the form of social, economic, emotional or physical. Keeping me and my family safe are the primary motivation of consumers during pandemic while purchasing any goods or availing any services through online.

KPMG’s report “Me, My Life, My wallet-2021” is a fresh survey based on consumers behaviour worldwide during the pandemic and their expected behavioural changes post pandemic. The consumers prefer to go for online or digital platform for buying and availing services. 

This report reveals that approximately 76% of respondents rate e-commerce or online purchases as important. It further states that 92 percent value to the notion of ‘keeping safe’. Job loss, unemployment and recession are still the major concern of worries for consumers than this on-going pandemic. Consumers will be spending on buying essentials after Covid 19 pandemic also.  Consumer’s utmost fear is data privacy and cyber threat. It is reported that during this pandemic India has witnessed a sharp increase of 25 percent in cyber threat. KPMG report supports this and further states that three out of every ten consumers are very staid about their data privacy and to make them feel safe consumers have updated their privacy settings regularly.

Consumers prefer to go for online shopping with a valid website, with a reliable e-commerce and rather a web chat option. Some consumers now give importance to personalised customer service and transparency about their purchase. Consumers feel that nutritious food, health supplements, personal and home care need to be prioritized during Covid 19.  

Purchasing Ayurveda and organic products are in demand. Young generation consumers prefer to buy local brands may be a less known brand rather than popular brands to avoid the use of high chemicals. The consumers have developed a rational, local, socially and environmentally sustainable choice.

As per Dentsu India’s survey on consumers’ behaviour, nearly 80% of consumers surveyed prefer to spend their money on sanitaization and immunity products. It is also observed that consumers are willing to pay more to an ethical retailer that serves the society in pandemic.

Spending meticulously and if it is required spending less are other attributes of new consumer behaviour. Unemployment or job loss or decrease in income during this pandemic has compelled the consumers to control their purchasing power.

As we know that consumers are worried about future economy so the consumer priorities have a paradigm shift. Now consumers want to save more and they want to have a better planning for their future. Surprisingly many opt to earn more money after the pandemic. Online shopping including groceries, snacks and online food services are also in the nomenclature of consumers’ behaviour. Digital banking, UPI or e-wallets are new transaction mode for consumers. 60 percent of consumers prefer to use e-wallets during this pandemic. GPay ranks on the top followed by Paytm in this list.

Information and Communication Technology has helped the consumers to overcome the pandemic crisis as per Ericcsion consumer and Industry Lab study on Indian Consumers behaviour. Consumers have engaged themselves in the online activities like working, studying, finding wellness, making social connection and accessing health services during Covid 19 pandemic. Overall it leads to mobile broadband data consumption.

 It is reported that there is an increase of 25% in smartphone data usage in India in this on-going Covid 19 pandemic.  It is not confined to India only but consumers across the globe have glued to digital platform also. A finding says that 40% of consumers globally would rather like to lose their wallets than their mobile phone.

Online education for skill enhancement is another choice of Indian consumers. It is stated by a survey that as many as 60% consumers claim to receive online certification during pandemic. The young generation consumers use the digital technology in an innovative and extended way. Consumers now prefer to use latest brands available in digital market or e-shopping portal.

Approximately 27 percent of consumers say that they have tried more new brands because of Covid 19 lockdown as claimed by KPMG report.  There is a subsequent increase in the new users and non-digital users.

Consumers across the world are having a myriad of information at their finger tips. It sets a challenge to consumers’ attention. So in order to grab the consumers’ attention and keep them engaged, the online entertainment industries come forward with different content and offerings.  There is a substantial increase in online streaming apps or OTT subscriptions.

Another study on How Consumers Companies Can Innovate To Grow, by Accenture  reveals a peculiar side of consumer behaviour. It says that Indian consumers want to change at least one element in their life style post pandemic.

Now the organisations are coming up with different marketing strategies for consumers. Fulfilling consumers immediate and future needs are being reshaped and prioritized in this Covid 19 pandemic. So if you see online food delivery guys stand in the queue before alcohol shops then do not raise your eyebrows. It is the outcome of consumer behaviour.

(Dr Parida is Assistant Professor in Sophitorium Group of Institutions, Khordha.  Ph: 8456879522)

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