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Harris Interactive UK Ltd – 18 November 2020
Source Figaro Digital

As we close the year and enter a period of new restrictions and uncertainty, marketers must understand how best to consider what we’ve seen in 2020 — and how it will impact the attitudes, behaviours, and needs of the 2021 consumer.

Toluna/Harris Interactive and KuRunData have been running a Consumer Barometer study every two to three weeks since March 2020 to better understand consumer changes as they unfolded. Managing Director EMEA Paul Twite shares what they have learned.

2020 consumers have been:

• Resilient.
• Focused on saving money.
• Cautious about the ongoing pandemic.

2020 was a year unlike any other. But as we move on to 2021, it’s clear that the consumer has forever changed. This makes it more important than ever to gather real-time insights — over time — as the market continues to evolve.

COVID-19, economic concerns, and social issues have rapidly impacted the attitudes and behaviours of the 2020 consumer.

In 2021, we can expect to see many brands invest in improving their image and parent company brands. Why? Because…

  • Consumers feel many brands were slow to react to COVID-19 impacts, and value brand trust more than ever.
  • More than half of people report they are more likely to buy from brands that show consumer support, and value inclusion and diversity.
  • It’s not enough to simply show support. Consumers must specifically understand and believe in a brand’s efforts before buying in.

Trend: Brand switching and “trading down” are common

Brands have catching up to do to keep consumers loyal, and keep them from “trading down” in light of financial concerns.

In terms of consumer loyalty, brand switching has increased. According to our Global Barometer study, 59 per cent of consumers report that they’re more open to trying a new brand than they were before COVID-19.

Consumers have or expect to trade down, and 59 per cent report purchasing lower cost or private label brands to save money given current financial concerns.

Key takeaways
Brands can prevent switching by considering their approach to brand advertising, and how their core values are communicated to consumers.
Local brands may find a competitive edge, and can expect to see a renewed focus in many cases. More than 60 per cent of consumers report that they’d like to purchase locally to know that their purchase has a local benefit, and where they came from.

Trend: Consumer spending is changing, and they’re saving more.

Job security is a global concern, with 23 per cent of people worried about their jobs. Levels of concern are highest in Asia Pacific.

Consumers feel stressed about job security and finances. As a result, we’re seeing that close to 40 per cent of people worldwide have changed the way that they spend — and save — money.

We expect this changed view to continue into 2021 in several key ways:

  • Not only do people plan to save more, but we expect a renewed focus on budgeting.
  • Many consumers will trade down, looking at “contender brands” for household staples.
  • We’ll also see cautious spending this holiday season.

So, what can we expect for holiday 2020 spending? We dug in to find out.

  • Close to 40 per cent of consumers are concerned about holiday spending and will be more selective in what they spend money on, with fewer gifts for co-workers and friends, for example.
  • COVID concerns have fewer people gathering, decreasing the need for gift purchase.
  • Of those that do plan to purchase gifts, close to 50 per cent of people will holiday shop based on price.
  • We’ll see less gifting, with gift cards being the second highest type of gift people plan to purchase this year.
  • For holiday and beyond, we’ll see fewer impulse purchases — though we continue to see people investing in home improvements, and more stable, longer-term investment strategies.

Finally, two larger themes have emerged from the massive spending shift in 2020:

  1. Consumers have become less “consumerist” as they have fewer opportunities to make purchases.
  2. The level of savings consumers need to feel comfortable about their future has increased.

Key takeaway
With interest rates on savings accounts at low levels, financial providers must find alternative ways to appeal to customers, and ensure their value propositions are presented to their target audience.

Trend: Consumers are more mobile, and on the move

While many are moving from cities to avoid stricter lockdowns, some are moving for other reasons, including cities that can no longer offer nightlife, culture, and excitement. They’re also taking advantage of the ability to relocate since they’re no longer tethered to an office.

We’ve also seen new and younger populations taking advantage of low interest rates and investment opportunities by buying homes.

Key takeaways
We expect new home buyers to present local opportunities. We expect to see a renewed sense of community, and local retail shopping and dining where it’s possible and safe. We’re also predicting automotive sales increases as we’re seeing a new group who’ve moved from the city into the suburbs needing to purchase cars.

--- Click article link to view the full feature  which outlines the following trends in

  • Automotive
  • Consumer Spending
  • Travel
  • Entertainment

We’re seeing a new consumer emerge in 2021. One that has turned back time in some ways, and accelerated it in others. The 2021 consumer is more wired and technology-focused than ever before. They’re savvy shoppers who value personal connection, family, and self-care.

To a healthy and prosperous 2021!


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