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Consumer Behaviour Marketing

‘Seismic’ shifts seen in spending habits as consumers adapt to Covid-19 impact


By John Glenday, Reporter

September 21, 2020 | 4 min read

A new study has unearthed 'seismic' shifts in consumer-brand interactions with 60% modifying purchases to concentrate on essential items. The pronounced pivot has been spurred by the worsening economic picture which sees 75% of respondents report a reduced income.

‘Seismic’ shifts seen to global consumer spending habits

‘Seismic’ shifts seen to global consumer spending habits

What’s changed for consumers?

  • The Selligent Global Connected Consumer Index is an annual study centred on the brand interactions and expectations of 5,000 global consumers.

  • Led by omnichannel cloud technology company Selligent, the report found that 76% of consumers still expect real-time email or mobile updates despite the crisis.

  • 75% of global consumers reported less work due to Covid-19 and, as a result, a majority (60%) have modified purchases to focus on essential items, like food and safety products.

  • Moreover, the value associated with flexibility in returns or cancellations has also spiked with 81% grateful for the ability to backtrack.

  • 58% of those quizzed are resigned to remote working for the long term. This dramatic change in circumstance translates to 56% making new purchases they would not otherwise have made.

  • Moreover the proportion of people purchasing online every week has jumped from 28% to 36% in the wake of the pandemic.

  • Evolving consumer expectations have thus far largely been met by brands with 38% agreeing that the overall customer experience has risen in the past year.

  • Consumers have also become more forgiving of delayed responses given the circumstances, with the proportion expecting a reply within 24 hours dipping by 3% to 93% since 2019.

  • The importance attached to privacy also dropped over this period with just 64% believing it to be more important than the online experience, down from 74% in last year's study.

How can brands meet changed consumer needs?

  • The rapidly shifting spending landscape presents opportunities for fleet-footed brands wishing to capitalise on the new stay at home economy by engaging through new channels, providing a relevant offer and offering flexibility.

  • Email and mobile remain the most important channels of contact for 59 and 33% respectively but brands should be wary, with two in five unsubscribing from at least two email lists in the past six months - the majority citing 'too many emails' as the cause.

  • Brand marketers are encouraged to prioritise real-time communications with 70% desiring to know of product availability before the point of purchase.

  • A further 76% wish for clear safety protocols and a further 64% welcome mobile and contactless pick-up or check-in options.

  • Cash-strapped consumers are increasingly favouring freebies, sales and shipping perks over past brand loyalties (51%) with a paltry 8% expressing brand loyalty above all else.

  • Karthik Kripapuri, chief exec at Selligent, said: “It’s clear that listening to customers more closely, frequently looking for opportunities to deliver customer-first experiences, and developing programs that reward buyers for their loyalty and advocacy will support an organisation’s ability to, not only survive today’s challenging environment, but thrive in it.”

Consumer Behaviour Marketing

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