New consumer habits and digitalisation post Covid-19
We have long been in a time of rapid and constant change, both in the way we relate to each other economically and socially, and in the behaviour of consumers, which is constantly changing as they adapt to advances in technology and the Internet. For this reason, digitisation post Covid-19 will be a before and after in the digital business environment.
With months of confinement, no one doubts the importance that this digital ecosystem has in people’s daily lives, which has allowed us to stay connected, relate to each other, enjoy leisure, or the way we consume, helping us to cope better with this situation. But how well adapted are companies to this digital environment and consumer?
The coronavirus has evaluated us in digital transformation and has highlighted those companies that were able to see the great potential it represents, where we see examples of businesses whose activity and value contributed to society and the economy have not been aﬀected. At the same time, this pandemic has accelerated the necessary and important process of digitalisation in all sectors, both in food, leisure and sports, as well as in one of the most reluctant to change, education.
Companies that have been caught unawares are facing a reality that is not new, as their customer was probably already fully adapted to the digital environment. What COVID-19 has caused is that those that were not adapted, have done so quickly in order to better cope with this crisis and new normality.
Consumers now expect digital services from all the companies and brands they consume, and what was once considered a trend has now become a demand.
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How have consumer trends changed?
Consumer needs and preferences have changed in a short period of time, it is necessary to adapt to this demand that originated in the confinement, and today remains in the consumer.
In this small sample of data on online searches carried out by users, this changing reality can be observed:
|Monthly Google searches
|Online cycling shop
|Training at home
|Yoga for beginners
|Online private lessons
Are these habits here to stay?
The screenshots of the Google Trends tool show us the evolution of these searches, in two of the sectors that have undergone the most changes.
One of the star issues during the confinement has been related to food, where the demand for home-delivered food has skyrocketed. We can see that, despite not being confined today, it is a habit that remains with consumers to a greater extent than before the pandemic.
Some small businesses, which already had a digital presence, have seen their online sales increase by up to 150% during the months of confinement, even emerging stronger from the pandemic by leveraging their digital advantages.
According to data from a study by the consultancy firm Kantar, up to 10% of consumers bought food online for the first time, and a large proportion of them have made it their favourite channel for consuming products and services, so businesses that are not online will be aﬀected, further evidence of the importance that digitalisation will have post Covid-19.
Another big change is in the labour sector, where before covid-19 not even 10% of companies in our country used teleworking, and today it is a very present issue in them. It may still be necessary to work on all the advantages of this form of work, making the whole digital environment more adapted to traditional services (improvements in online training in schools, for example) or new labour regulations, would help to complete this improvement in social and family reconciliation that we all want. However, as technology improves and businesses adapt to the digital environment, all the advantages will continue to increase.
If one thing is clear, it is that some of the new consumer habits and preferences remain after the pandemic has passed.
Synergies between companies for digitalisation post Covid-19
To resist in unfavourable environments, it is necessary to create synergies between companies to protect and strengthen themselves, where groups as hard hit as SMEs in this crisis can find an opportunity to grow their business by strengthening ties and carrying out joint projects with other companies seeking mutual benefit, especially in the retail sector.
It should be borne in mind that:
- Although e-shopping has become normalised in recent months, we must not lose sight of the physical shops, which have to oﬀer security to users, and those that do this best will be more successful.
- Consumers will buy in the establishments that oﬀer them the most confidence, and to generate this confidence it will be necessary to interact with them a lot.
- The new generations are already very used to the online shopping process, and as they grow up surrounded by this type of service, it will be necessary to adapt and oﬀer in physical shopping establishments shopping processes adapted to this form of consumption (new sections similar to those you can find in an eCommerce), in addition to the countless possibilities oﬀered by technology in terms of customer interaction, communication and convenience, such as smart mirrors with which you can see the garment you are wearing or establishments where you can shop by selecting the products you want with your mobile phone, and they send the purchase to your home without having to carry the whole All these innovations can already be found today.
- They will be more demanding and more informed, so it is essential to establish collaborative synergies that are committed to cleaner shops, capacity control, transferring sensations and promoting their digitalisation.
The best example of how to control social distance is the tool installed by shopping centres, supermarkets and other distributors called SmartOccupancy, which allows retailers to automatically control capacity in real-time while keeping the channel active and protecting people’s health. Maintaining this type of tool allows, together with the synergies between companies throughout the business process, to strengthen and transfer the feeling of adaptation to digitalisation post Covid-19, being perceived in a very positive way by the consumer.
For these reasons, adapted businesses with a good online presence, with implemented eCommerce platforms and which are capable of generating synergies with other local companies, helping users to find what they are looking for, are the best placed to face and survive the economic impact that Covid-19 will have in 2021. This requires a digital transformation strategy.