Pandemic buying began to impact retailers and consumers heavily in March 2020. Supply chains took a hit as shipping woes began and consumers stocked up on essentials like toilet paper and peanut butter. Overall spending also declined or shifted throughout the pandemic, with a recent AlixPartners survey showing 36% of those surveyed intend to keep spending less than they did pre-pandemic.
GROWTH OF THE INTENTIONAL CONSUMER
Consumer confidence continues to climb with vaccine rollouts making them optimistic about the future, but consumers continue to shift and adjust their spending categories to meet pandemic needs. One shift seen over the past two years has been the creation of the “intentional consumer,” as David Garfield, global leader of the consumer products practice at AlixPartners points out in Chain Store Age. “We are seeing the rise of ‘the intentional consumer’-a consumer that in some cases plans to spend less and, in all cases, plans to be much more deliberate about how and where to spend.”
Not only is spending impacted by the “intentional consumer” but so are their shopping trips. Shoppers are spending more time researching and planning their outings, impacting impulse purchasing. With tight budgets and often a list and plan in hand, consumers want to make the most of their excursions out of their homes.
RESEARCH DRIVES OMNICHANNEL EXPECTATIONS
McKinsey & Company has seen similar trends through their recent polling, as consumer optimism remains strong. Omnichannel expectations continue for consumers as well, as they look to browse online and then shop in store, or order online for pick up in store. McKinsey predicts that the need to incorporate these digital integrations will continue on as a consumer expectation for good.
Even as consumers continue to venture out of their homes for social activities, indoor dining, and fitness options, they still report embracing the homebody economy. Spending increases on in-home items continue, while shoppers are also at least perusing in-store offerings before heading out in person. The intentional consumer hits again in this context – planning out of home excursions and making the most of these trips.
WHAT CAN RETAILERS DO?
It’s easy to see how impacting consumers must become more intentional and inventive as we anticipate pandemic habits are here to stay – at least to some extent. From creating an omnichannel approach to implementing engaging displays, the time is now for retailers to plan for a future with many recent consumer habits remaining for the long-term. Bold displays and robust omnichannel integrations will create loyal brand consumers who feel their time – and money – are not being wasted in-store.