Just as many states are starting to reopen after months of stay-at-home orders, the country was hit with a wave of social unrest and protests in support of the Black Live Matter movement. The country (and world) is experiencing a lot of uncertainty right now and collectively, we’re wondering what the future is going to look like. More specifically, how do we navigate the way forward with ALL of this unrest.
Matt Britton, the founder and CEO of Suzy Consumer Insight, a real-time market research platform, has been hosting regular webinars on the State of the U.S. Consumer. In the latest volume, Britton shares that 70-percent of Americans are admitting that they underestimated the length of time that the COVID-19 outbreak would last. Many consumers now believe that the pandemic is going to last for another three months, but hope that it will exist at a level that continues to allow business and society to open up more so. (NOTE: This trend information is based on a series of studies conducted on the Suzy platform, a crowd-sourcing consumer trend solution. This information reflects Suzy’s two consumer surveys that took place in May and June. Over with 2,000 participants are represented.)
Britton continues to share that “despite all the volatility, consumers are still consuming.”
The data shows that consumer behavior will continue to evolve with COVID-19 and the recession, as well as the recent social unrest. We’ve been reporting for the past month in this column that consumers are eager to align their spending with brands, businesses and organizations that mirror their prioritized ethics. Britton stated: “People are demanding change!” He goes on to say that the consumer will continue to push for changes from their local and federal government, local cities, police forces, as well as from their favorite brands.
“Half of consumers surveyed are wanting brands to stand up for social issues,” he said “Now more than ever, consumers are expecting brands to not just talk the talk, but to actually do something to enact change,” he said. Britton shares that 65-percent of consumers are more likely to support a brand that cares about the same social issues as they do. They also believe that a brand should:
- Provide some type of financial support for affected employees (nearly half)
- Provide emotional support for affected employees (40%)
- Publicly support the cause on their social media accounts (40%)
- Write a statement of support for the cause (38%)
This is disproportionately the case with younger consumers. A Women’s Wear Daily study found that younger consumers are three times more likely to suggest that this movement is going to change their purchase behaviors in the future. Consumers are also researching and purchasing more from black-owned businesses (nearly half, in the Suzy survey).
“I would definitely put myself in this bucket looking to purchase at more black-owned businesses as a result of the movement, giving black entrepreneurs more of an opportunity by seeking them out, not just through happenstance but making sure that you are supporting black-owned businesses.”
SIA Take: Consumers are are drawn to engage with and buy from brands that they feel support their values and beliefs. Make sure that your company has its mission, vision and values easy to find on your website and positioned in a relevant way on your channels that comprise your platform. It’s critical to show the action behind your mission, vision and values as well.
In addition to the Suzy webinar, which is available at www.Suzy.com (we highly recommend taking the time to listen to Volume 6 in its entirety), PR Agility published articles on consumer behavior this week as well.
The first piece, No news is… bad news: Consumers won’t buy from uncommunicative brands during COVID, shares that consumers not only want to hear from brands during a crisis (like COVID-19), but they also want to hear from their favorite brands in an inspiring way.
- 47-percent of U.S. respondents are desperate to hear about non-COVID-19 news.
- 45-percent agree they want to be inspired by brands so they can be hopeful about the future, which ultimately inspires them to spend money with the brand.
In addition to looking to brands for inspiration and hope, consumers are showing an increased loyalty towards local, community businesses. The article, COVID spurs community engagement—consumers now want to support local economy, shares that the “movement toward locally produced goods is nothing new,” but the level of engagement with local businesses during COVID-19 reveals consumers are going out of their way to support their community – when possible.
According to a new survey of U.S. consumers, 53-percent indicated that they are more likely to buy from a local business during the COVID-19 crisis. And 68-percent stated they will continue to make purchases at local businesses post-pandemic.
SIA Take: Though consumers are trending local, they are still skewing towards safety and convenience. It’s important that businesses continue to engage with their customers to address their concerns and needs. Matt Britton says it well in his webinar, “I think when it feels like the world is changing and really right now as you complain, it’s really more important than ever to listen to your consumer.” To succeed during these uncertain times, we need to put our consumer first.