2020 has seen the biggest disruption to consumer behaviour this century, putting into question the accuracy of companies’ existing benchmark, segmentation & foundational research of their markets.
With Covid19 having a profound effect on all aspects of our lives, economically, socially and emotionally, the need for companies to reassess consumer understanding has never been more prevalent. In 2021 the challenge for companies that have flourished during a pandemic will be to retain growth rates, underperforming brands will need to re-align business strategies with behavioural changes to ensure survival.
Everyday life is unlikely to revert back to how it was any time soon. That presents valuable opportunities for brands to understand and support consumers in this new world.
WARC has recently published its Marketers Toolkit 2021, here is our take on the findings with many issues requiring greater understanding of both product users’ & non users’ behavioural changes.
1. Responding to the Recession
In 2020 eCommerce grew 41%, that’s 10 years’ growth in 6 months, rending established path to purchase models out of date. Understanding the decision process under current market conditions will be a key consideration for brands. WARC report that the need for advertising & product distinctiveness is evident as advertising suffered from a lack of uniqueness during quarantine. The value of concept & advertising research should not be overlooked.
2. The Age of e-Commerce
As the familiarity of online shopping becomes embedded in consumer choice, this shift is likely to be permanent. Understanding online UX and the competitive landscape of DTC channels will be key. Ensuring packaging stand outs and product concepts are immediately understood in the digital environment will involve extensive in-situ testing. Remote eye tracking via webcam capabilities will provide deeper understanding of such challenges faced by brands.
3. Engaging At-home Consumers
Lockdowns and working from home will remain key drivers to behavioural change. Understand the impact these restrictions have on consumers will mean discovering how and where your brand fits in the consumers’ new world. Established U&A data should be revised with a key focus on the at-home consumer to unearth potential opportunities. Home working, social distancing & self-isolation have resulted in greater availability of consumers in their home environment; ideal for home usage tests, online video interviews, online surveys, and participation in bespoke online communities.
4. Finding the Whitespace
Physical & mental health has risen up the agenda and will continue to be a space that brands want to occupy to cater for consumer priorities. The introduction of new products and line extensions that are positioned to respond to consumer wellbeing needs will require iterative concept & product testing with both current users and non users to ensure success.
5. Closed Web Saturation
As digital advertising becomes less effective through over saturation, brands need to look for new ways to disrupt, stand out and engage consumers. New strategies for personalisation will require brands to understand their users in context from purchase decision through to usage, before they can begin to create personalised experiences.
6. Structuring for Volatility
As businesses continue to experience the turmoil of a global pandemic and economic recession, the growth of social issues will continue to rise. The need for inclusivity is evident and brands should question whether segmentation models, advertising and algorithms are fit to address this emerging trend.