In March 2020, the majority of countries around the world found themselves entering COVID-19 lockdowns for the first time. Twelve months on, some markets are still facing public restrictions while others are relatively back to normal. However, all markets have experienced changes to consumer behavior in some way.
Forced to embrace online shopping due to restrictions during lockdowns, e-commerce has become more important than ever for consumers. Most agencies agree that this trend will continue, and Euromonitor recently reported that 74% of global retail professionals expect the crisis-inspired e-commerce boom to become permanent. But it will be important for businesses to continue to embrace news ways of conducting business to remain relevant with rapidly advancing technology along with the demand for it.
Digitization can address several consumer behaviors. Consumers have been forced to become more digitally savvy and are wanting:
- to maintain convenience and being available on demand – developing a 24/7 online service culture
- a seamless shopping journey across all channels – QR codes, online bookings for example save time, provide information, and guarantee availability
- businesses to prioritize safety – touchless, cashless and clean plays directly into unattended commerce and e-commerce
- businesses to have truthful marketing and dispel misinformation – delivered through more precise marketing on social media and gaming and give consumers a voice, and
- remain connected by seamlessly living, working, shopping and playing both face-to-face and online – this means meeting consumers where they are.
Next Generation Shopping
One of the trends that overlaps the digitization mega trend is next-generation shopping (within the sustainability and ethics mega trend). This trend in particular highlights the need to improve on creating seamless, user-friendly experiences. Further to this is the necessity to deal with delivery challenges, with longer than expected delivery time cited as the most common challenge in digital consumer survey.
When it comes to meeting consumers where they are, this is where augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, social media platforms, live selling platforms and virtual assistants provide the greatest opportunities. Euromonitor predict that leveraging technologies such as AR and VR will evolve from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’. While gaming is the most typically used AR/VR activity identified in their digital consumer survey, these are also being used to preview a holiday destination or to learn more about things before buying. Live-streaming has also been another emerging avenue to engage digital shoppers in real time. This type of shopping appeals to younger generations.
Health and wellness
The desire to be healthy and well has been heavily influenced by the conditions put in place to manage the spread of COVID-19. Most have observed that this, along with the increasing focus on environmental concerns, is driving organic, biodynamic and low-intervention niche wine segments.
The majority of product development in this space has been focused around beer, hard seltzers, ready to drink and spirits to date. However, some believe that no and low-alcohol wines are an untapped opportunity – especially given they only represent a small fraction of overall wine consumption and it is seeing double digit growth.
GlobalData has predicted that ‘moderation and avoidance’ in general is a trend to watch for the alcohol sector citing that a growing number of young and ‘sober-curious’ consumers are experiencing a social life that does not depend on alcohol. Further to this, research identified that when it comes to wine, the category will remain a niche as consumers will still chose ‘standard’ wine most of the time instead choosing to moderate how much they drink. That is smaller amounts and less often. Again, it is the younger consumers driving this trend towards moderation globally.
Other consumer trends
Some of the trends are recommended include:
- Increasing acceptance of new packaging formats. Purchase of alternative packaging such as canned wine is highest amongst the younger generations
- Social drinking experiences and expanding choice of occasions, venues and opportunities for drinking together outdoors or indoors
- Sophistication and premiumisation will remain a long-term constant
- Shift to wines seen as a safe choice and ‘localism’.
- Digitization mega trend with delivery challenges
- Next-generation shopping: the younger consumers drive the trend towards moderation globally
- The desire to be healthy: organic, biodynamic and low-intervention niche wine segments
- Meeting consumers where they are: this is where augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI).