COVID economy creates new digital consumers

New research finds the coronavirus pandemic has changed consumer habits, with many embracing online shopping for the first time, increasing the importance of real-time insights.

The digital habits of consumers have skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic, although many still prefer to shop in-store, the latest Toluna COVID-19 Barometer has found.

The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated digital adoption among consumers as retailers have shuttered their doors and social distancing encouraging many consumers to make their first online purchases. However, while online shopping and digital streaming services are up, many shoppers still prefer to go in-store for key personal items.

For example, 46 per cent of respondents said they’d rather buy personal care and toiletries in-store, versus 11 per cent who would prefer to buy these online. More than half (57 per cent) prefer grocery shopping in-store to online, and 39 per cent would prefer to buy clothes in a store. Tech items were another item that many would prefer to acquire in-store (32 per cent prefer in-store versus 15 per cent who have a strong preference for online purchasing of these items).

Toluna A/NZ business director, Stephen Walker, said Australians have been forced to drastically change the way they bank and shop during the crisis, highlighting the necessity of real-time insights.

“Although we expect to see a continued change in consumer habits, it’s encouraging for retailers to see many shoppers will still continue to come in-store, when safe to do so,” he said.

The decline of cash

With cash payments now frowned upon for hygiene reasons, the majority of Australians have also switched to prefer digital or card payments. According to Toluna’s survey, 62 per cent of respondents now use digital or card payments for every purchase where possible. 

Walker said with many consumers preferring the convenience of digital payments, retailers and financial institutions will need to closely monitor the evolving consumer perceptions “and adjust their services accordingly to ensure shoppers have access to a number of payment options at their fingertips”.

In addition, the survey found 60 per cent are now very comfortable managing their financial services online, and 59 per cent are now used to managing their financial services online and would be happy to continue doing this moving forward. Nearly four in 10 also said they’re happy to get advice from financial institutions either online or via video (38 per cent). 

The digital habits of consumers have skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic, although many still prefer to shop in-store, the latest Toluna COVID-19 Barometer has found.

The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated digital adoption among consumers as retailers have shuttered their doors and social distancing encouraging many consumers to make their first online purchases. However, while online shopping and digital streaming services are up, many shoppers still prefer to go in-store for key personal items.

Toluna A/NZ business director, Stephen Walker, said Australians have been forced to drastically change the way they bank and shop during the crisis, highlighting the necessity of real-time insights. “Although we expect to see a continued change in consumer habits, it’s encouraging for retailers to see many shoppers will still continue to come in-store, when safe to do so,” he said.

The bi-weekly index, which taps into people’s perceptions regarding the Coronavirus, surveyed 1091 respondents in Australia for its latest research.

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