Behaviours, consumption and expectations are changing. This is a new playground for future explorations and discoveries.
No one thought health would become wealth. The entire world has unwillingly welcomed complete isolation or some form of it in order to survive the COVID-19 outbreak. This kind of separation from the outside world has pushed humanity to transition into a new period, where conscious decisions and actions of individuals become determinative of collective health. Within days, we changed. It began with basic routines. From washing hands to dealing with social distancing. Yet, within weeks, we started seeing radical changes in human behaviour and the way people consume. New, isolation-induced habits have emerged and have had short term impact, and it is suspected they will have long term consequences for consumers and businesses. The digital world is thriving. While everyone is staying home, digital screens have become magic windows into the world. People are coping with COVID-19 thanks to fast-paced digital technologies. The pandemic has become an accelerator of digital adoption and a driver of digital transformation in business. This is a great time for entrepreneurs to launch new digital products and for businesses to implement their agendas. It is a good reminder that in any breakdown, there is always a chance for a breakthrough.
Scenes from post-apocalyptic sci-fi movies have entered our lives. People are not able to leave their homes, and even the most mundane outdoor activities and errands require bravery. We can no longer travel, go out for a fancy lunch at a nearby restaurant, grab a quick coffee on the way to the office or drop our kids at school. The fragility of life has become more noticeable as a result of the lockdown, and this new awareness constantly requires people to be more brave in certain situations. Definition of bravery has shrunk. Yet the definition of bravery has shrunk to the point where even stepping out of our homes can be considered a heroic move. Consequently, this emerging awareness may lead people to act more “bravely” in certain aspects of life without leaving the safety of their homes. And when people are pushed to do things differently, the next normal becomes a breeding ground for new habits and behaviours. If the new habits are here to stay, we expect to see the following trends in human behaviours in the next normal.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its heavy impact on our lives and economy, we have seen some clear shifts in consumer behaviour. The next normal motive is “seek safety, avoid risk.” Although some organizations hope that consumers will take part in “revenge shopping’’, people will tend to be more frugal in the coming months, maybe years. Currently, most spending goes to fundamental needs like maintaining and preserving health, while the rest goes to home supplies and home entertainment. As expenditure focuses shift, so do expenditure channels. Expenditure channels are going digital, one by one. There has been high demand for subscription offerings by OTT video streaming, digital news and media, e-learning and communication companies. As a result, the share of wallet for digital services and technology has increased. Although digital channels create convenience for shoppers, it seems shoppers will return to physical stores in the near future, but with recently-developed economic, hygiene and digital habits. Economic resilience and physical safety concerns are expected to regulate the following habits in consumption in the next normal.
Customer experience has gained more importance during the pandemic. With changing attitudes and consumption, change is inevitable when it comes to customer expectations and priorities regarding product/service providers. The relationships between communities and brands are ever more remote today. Organizations have been forced to make fundamental alterations in their business models and customer approaches upon moving to the next normal. This is a unique time for brands to leverage the opportunity to build new products and services, internalizing new customer routines and converting them into new rituals in their customers’ next normal. While doing so, brands also need to be more compassionate in order to gain customer loyalty and maintain those customers in the next normal.
Digital & Experience Consulting, Director, PwC Turkey
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