In the same way it dramatically transformed everyday life, the coronavirus pandemic has left an indelible impact on consumer buying behavior.
Tallwave, a marketing company headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., discovered in a recent survey that 41% of consumers cited convenience as the primary benefit of using digital experiences during the health crisis. Price and cost savings were important to a lesser extent, averaging 20%.
But once the pandemic is over, respondents want to choose their own adventure, so to speak, revealing that hybrid experiences may be crucial for the success of businesses post-crisis.
Convenience drives the success of many COVID-19-era digital experiences
Market research firm IRI previously found that in-store shoppers tend to prioritize deals and cost savings above all else — a trend that continued even during the pandemic.
However, convenience remained an important consideration for many consumers staying at home during the COVID-19 outbreak. A previous survey from delivery experience management firm Convey showed that shoppers continued to use Amazon despite their best intentions to support smaller brands. Others paid for little conveniences like streaming services and food delivery to make stay-at-home orders more bearable.
That could be why Tallwave respondents relied so heavily on digital experiences during the pandemic, simplifying their lives during a time when even the act of leaving your house had huge risks. In fact, Tallwave reported an increase in pandemic-era digital services, such as:
- Telehealth services (59% during the pandemic, versus 23% before the pandemic)
- Virtual workouts (49% during, versus 24% before)
- Online shopping with home delivery (52% during, versus 36% before)
Telehealth saw the greatest increase in consumer usage over the past year compared to other digital experiences, and 63% of respondents reported using it during the crisis. With the state of health care in the U.S., it's easy to see telehealth fitting in as a mainstay offering for providers.
Meanwhile, digital banking experiences may have much less success in a post-pandemic world. Although 85% of respondents used mobile banking over the past year, only 24% plan to do so after the pandemic.
Consumers want hybrid experiences in the future
The tale of these services indicates that hybrid experiences — ones that combine aspects of digital and in-person experiences — could be the way of the future. This is supported by other findings from Tallwave, including:
- 50% of respondents saying they won't return to at least one in-person experience once the pandemic ends
- 10% of respondents planning to do everything in-person again once the pandemic ends
- 66% of respondents 55 and older wanting to avoid all digital experiences once the pandemic ends
These numbers suggest that companies wanting to keep their customers in a post-pandemic world should meet them where they are, and provide the kind of personalized experiences they desire.
Methodology: Tallwave conducted an online survey — through the Harmon Research consumer panel — in April 2021 of 1,010 U.S. adults ages 24 and older.