The way in which we consume changes from day to day yet knowing how consumer habits change due to Covid-19 is becoming increasingly more important to our local businesses. So how can parts of our sector use new consumer habits to its advantage?
A survey done by leading customer insights agency Perceptive, which undertook two surveys six days apart with a focus group of 1000 Kiwis showed how quickly during a time of mass uncertainty we change our focus.
One of the survey’s key findings was demand for businesses to start operating again went from 36 to 48 percent. Showing that the longer the lockdown continues, the more individuals want to resume their normal lives.
Yet what interested us wasn’t the obviously yearning for our old lives of convenience, but more so how brand perception has changed in the eyes of the consumers during and just before the lock down began.
Based on a negative / positive sentiment and high / low volume of brand mentions Perceptive found that several of New Zealanders usually loved brands had gained negative attention due to how they incorrectly handled consumer expectations during the initial stages of lockdown.
Places such as the Mad Butcher and The Warehouse specifically saw a drop-in consumer perception following moves made against government regulations.
On the other hand, businesses that were seen as higher and therefore perceived more positivity included the likes of our major grocery chains, media networks, banks and service providers. The majority of brands which rated positive for sentiment, however, could do more to speak to audiences according to the survey.
These findings show the link between consumers wanting to hear from brands and what they’re doing to support consumers, even when in the midst of a global pandemic.
Campaigns from large chains such as New World and Countdown were noted by the consumers and held in positive regard. The survey’s participants gave their key reasonings for selecting these brands as positive including working to supply food at a distance, keeping shelves stocked, cutting leadership salaries, and removing data caps to benefit workers and students.
Oliver Allen general manager at Perceptive said it was clear to them how much customers are judging brands from how they handle Covid-19.
“This creates an opportunity to stand out and build positive brand sentiment in the minds of consumers. From this data we can see that this can be done through smart, creative responses to the Covid crisis that actually help customers, it can’t just be communications. The key is that they need to be genuine, brands that are perceived to be acting in a self-serving way are being judged harshly by the consumer.”
One of the more interesting key findings from the survey was when participants were asked ‘what are you planning to do while the country is on lockdown?’. To our sectors benefit, 71 percent of respondents said they would be watching more TV and movies. Meaning campaigns are more likely to be caught at less peak times as people consume at now all hours of the day.
The findings signified for us that although consumer habits have changed drastically, the day to day individual is still wanting to hear from their favourite brands and feel supported in a time of mass uncertainty.