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Learning from 2020: Consumer behaviour trends 2021

As 2020 has come to a close, we look over the strangeness that this past year has been. Undoubtedly, there have been many unexpected changes and shifts in consumer behaviour. What’s important, however, is that some of these trends are here to stay or will stick around at least for some time in 2021. Hence, we’re bringing you an overview with some takeaways for your new year’s strategy.

More time spent on screen

As we have all been stuck inside our houses, it comes as no surprise that the average screen time has increased. In fact, mobile usage soared 1,200% already before the pandemic, between 2008 and 2018. This trend was drastically accelerated due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 44% of under-18s reported over 4 hours of screen time per day in 2020. 

Phone screen graphic

Takeaway:

More screen time calls for an urgent digital transformation. From sales, to processes to analytics, if you’re not working on digitising your business, it’s likely you’re going to struggle to stay competitive. Furthermore, as consumers spend more time on their phones, mobile app downloads and usage soar as well. That’s important if you have an existing mobile app as well as if you’re considering creating one.

Frictionless is the way

With hygiene being the top one priority this year, even cashless sceptic countries have seen an acceleration in contactless payment adoption. From mobile wallets to contactless cards, disruptive payment options are on a rise and likely to stay popular beyond the pandemic. Naturally, the popularity of e-commerce this year has been overwhelming. The jury is still out on whether or not this trend will prevail long-term post-Covid. One thing is clear, however, we have entered a frictionless world where customer experience is paramount.

Mobile wallet frictionless payment

Takeaway:

PwC’s annual survey has revealed that two thirds of consumer markets CEOs will prioritise improving customer experience this year. Hence, focus on making your processes agile, streamlined and frictionless. Staying on top of popular payment options (such as mobile wallets and pay later) will help to reduce checkout drop offs and improve conversion rates.

Value-oriented buyers

Understandably, lots of consumers have had to be particularly cost-conscious in 2020 due to financial insecurity. With so many jobs lost and unstable, consumer consumption habits changed in 2020. This has mostly manifested in value orientation in buying.

money saving and value conscious consumers

Takeaway:

If you operate in the consumer space, you might need to be conscious of your customers’ situation with regards to your budget and strategic goals planning.

Health & conscious living

2020 has seen most of us home cooking more than ever before. As consumers’ lives were upended and slowed down, a clear increase in health focus has appeared. Similarly, there has been a conscious move to buying local and from good-doing brands (be it for environmental, social or other reasons).

 

Takeaway:

Branding and positioning products and services correctly will be more important than ever. Health and hygiene (including that of your employees) is predicted to stay top priority for consumers. Hence, stricter measures and standards will still be relevant. Additionally, you might want to review your CSR policies and strategies in order to create a more distinctive position of your brand in the social environment.

Read more on the power of purpose-driven marketing here.

Online marketplaces soar

As already mentioned, when economies shut and consumers were stuck inside, online marketplaces started soaring. McKinsey has estimated that the acceleration of e-commerce deliveries has covered 10 years in 8 weeks in 2020.

online shopping in ecommerce and online delivery

Takeaway:

Many agree that the key trend of 2021 will be a focus on customer experience (CX) and crucially needed improvements to it. As websites become the shopping windows and much more to every business, working on customer journeys and connected experiences will be paramount.

Loyalty?

So what’s the trend with loyalty? Well, it’s complicated (as ever). On the one hand, McKinsey claims that there has been a shift towards trusted brands. This alludes to the fact that consumers have been loyal to those A brands. On the other hand, due to the increase of online offerings, loyalty has also suffered in many ways as it has become easier to switch.

repeat purchases loyalty

Takeaway:

Customer loyalty in 2021 will be challenging to acquire but not impossible. Keep working on establishing trust with your customers, build rapport and relationships and you will see results. Additionally, don’t forget that consumers are now more sensitive to brand behaviour, sustainability and social responsibility. This can be a basis for brand loyalty, or lack thereof. If you need more help on how to build customer loyalty, head over here to read some more loyalty-related articles.

A final thought

For many of the above points, one key ability is necessary – reliable data strategy. As things move more and more online, your data is your best friend; so rely on it. Make sure you have a good data strategy in place and also have tools that allow you to work efficiently with the data and turn them into insights. This applies to loyalty and customer data as well as digital transformation.

 

If you need a platform to help you get to data-driven loyalty, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here.

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