Shifting Consumer Preferences Amidst COVID-19

CapTech conducted a survey to better understand how consumer purchasing behaviors, perceptions and needs have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey also explored the impact technology, incentives and innovation have on people’s decision to choose one retailer or purchasing method over another. Recruiting was based on 2010 US Census data for region, sex, household income and age via Cint, and was executed in September 2020.

Prioritized Spending is Here to Stay: Consumers are indicating a permanent shift in prioritizing their spending on essentials and saving money.

  • 34% are purchasing more essentials and 36% are purchasing fewer nonessentials.
  • This trend will likely continue, with nearly half indicating they want to purchase only items they need after COVID-19.

 Right Now, Safety is Top of Mind: Discounts and convenience that prioritizes safety like free shipping, curbside pickup and physical store modifications also have big impacts.

  • 56% of respondents said that discounting/waiving shipping/delivery fees and increased safety measures were the most influential on whether they gave a company their business.
  • 51% of respondents said that free curbside and in-store pickup was also influential in their purchasing decisions.
  • Consumers’ purchasing decisions are also influenced by whether or not businesses protect their employees (78%) and help the local community (76%).

Customers Are Adopting New Technologies: Consumers are more open to trying new and different activities, brands, and technology. Increased interest in new technologies is driven by a desire for enhanced safety.

  • 59% indicated that a business offering unique or innovative solutions is influential or very influential on their purchasing decisions
  • Many want to continue using technology post pandemic; 77% want to continue online shopping, 58% want to continue communicating with a company using online chat for customer service, and 52% want to continue paying for products or services using a smart device.

“Consumers’ spending preferences have changed dramatically in just a few months, and it’s very likely these habits will continue to change,” said Vinnie Schoenfelder, CTO of CapTech. “Consumers are not only receptive to using technology, they’ve come to expect it. To succeed in this environment, businesses will need to innovate to meet their needs.”

The survey was conducted in September 2020 using a statistically significant national census-based population sample via SurveyMonkey. It is representative of the general U.S. population.