Business should be wary as consumers go into survival mode
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CAPE TOWN - As businesses enter Level 2 lockdown, they need to be aware that women, who make most of the household decisions, have gone into survival mode and have little extra financial income for luxuries.
Customer Experience Specialist Nathalie Schooling said yesterday a consumer survey in collaboration with Customer Experience company, nlighten, had assessed how the respondents - 92 percent of them were women - had changed their values and in turn their shopping and spending behavior.
“Since women still make the majority of household purchasing decisions, it’s important that businesses tune-in to what these customers value, which has now changed substantially during the pandemic,” said Nathalie Schooling, the chief executive of nlighten.
The report revealed that almost 50 percent of respondents had no extra financial income for luxuries and income was now for essentials only.
Thirty-three percent said any extra spending money went towards health and wellness items for their loved ones.
Forty percent of respondents said health had become their number one priority.
When asked what the main driver behind their spending was, 41 percent said price was now their biggest driver of purchasing decisions, while 35 percent opted for convenience.
“Shoppers are tired of standing in long queues, it is time-consuming and just not safe anymore, so finding new and convenient ways to serve will become key for companies,” said Schooling.
There has also been a heightened sense of empathy and a move toward putting money back into the pockets of the little guy, with 74 percent of respondents saying that since the start of lockdown in March, they were more likely to support small businesses, local home industries and those who serve the greater community.
Behavioural Specialist and founder of psychology at work, Justine Jackson-Fraser, said events that create a major change in emotions, such as a global health pandemic will always impact behaviour, which then feeds back into our belief and value system.
For example, 75 percent of respondents in the survey said they now had a greater sense of empathy and community, and 82 percent said they value time and connection with loved ones more now than before, while 63 percent claimed to value a slower, more present and sustainable lifestyle.
“It’s quite hard for people to admit that their values have changed. We tend to think of them as deeply ingrained in our core, and I think this change has provided a large gap for companies to fill,” said Jackson-Fraser.
“These survey results really speak to people wanting meaning and connection, something many brands are unfortunately still failing to tap into, as they are overly preoccupied with automated and digitised services. Of course, this has its place, but it should never overshadow the human touch. There is still a lot of work to be done, ” said Schooling.