Let’s face it; COVID-19 has brought with it immense changes to the way communities all around the world are operating. From where we shop (did someone say, SALE?) to the way we eat (hello, UberEats), people around the globe are adjusting their ways to live in what appears to be the new normal. But what exactly does this mean for businesses?

Well, to help you understand these changes and how they impact your business, we’ve pulled together the top three consumer behaviours we’ve noticed a drastic change in over the last few weeks:

Breaking habits (and making new ones)

It’s an obvious change to point out, but as COVID-19 has forced the majority of the population into self-isolation or quarantine, people are having to adjust their daily consumer habits to suit the home-bound lifestyle. This means: more cooking from home, and consequently, less dining out; new ways of exercising (that definitely involve watching Chris Hemsworth’s workout videos on repeat); connecting in unique ways (we’re looking at you, House Party); and consuming more entertainment and media than ever before!

The biggest change that strikes us is the increase in consumption of media. People are hungry for information and updates, with Facebook recently finding that 36% of people are searching for news online more often than usual. But beyond the traditional news, consumers are also increasing their online social consumption as a way to feel more connected to a world that’s feeling a little disconnected (physically, at least).

Now is not the time to go quiet on social media, especially as Facebook have found that 16% of Australians have upped their Facebook browsing, while 12% have increased their usage on Instagram.  In fact, brands should be looking to increase their voice and focus on offering their customers something valuable that reflects these ever-changing times.

We’re also seeing an exponential increase in Facebook and Instagram live streams, as well as an explosion of Messenger and WhatsApp conversations. The key takeaway from all this? If you’re in the hospitality industry, consider promoting your delivery and takeout services to your Instagram followers; if you’re a gym or personal trainer, why not offer free workouts to your Facebook group. The possibilities are endless, you just need to think outside the box.

Searching for safety

“Wash your hands” is a tale as old as time (you probably just read that in your Mum’s voice, didn’t you?) but never did we think it would become as relevant as it is now. With personal hygiene on everyone’s mind, we’re now seeing consumers heavily limit the amount of face-to-face contact they’re having with other people, and subsequently, in-store brands. Facebook found that 23% of Australians are going to major shopping centres less than usual, with 14% also spending less in physical stores.

For those retailers and grocers with a physical presence, this means working out ways to deliver your offering online. Domino’s are a great case in point – they’ve created contactless delivery to limit the amount of physical person-to-person contact, meaning they can continue to deliver their product at a time where many competitors are struggling to adapt to these changes. Think of ways you can take this same approach and adapt it to your own product or service offering.

All for one

As a wise Troy Bolton once said in High School Musical, we’re all in this together. Amidst the fear and uncertainty of COVID-19, the public’s mentality has really shifted towards a communal focus with people banding together in all sorts of ways.

We’re now seeing whole suburbs supporting local businesses, with social movements urging others to only purchase from local retailers and grocers as opposed to larger corporations. We’re even seeing Influencers asking small businesses to reach out with stories of how their company has been impacted by COVID-19, and offering to support them by giving the brand a shoutout on their large social media accounts.

There’s incredible opportunities in this for small, local businesses – but be sure not to take advantage of the generosity of your community. Think about the ways you can make your community feel involved and invested in your brand, and what you can offer them to make their days a little brighter, the same way they will yours. Is it organising a giveaway to your local fans, or simply finding ways to keep them in the loop with what’s happening in your business?

However your business adapts to these changing times, it’s important to remember that this too shall pass and we WILL see the otherside of all this craziness – but not without a few of these changes actually transforming into the new normal and sticking around post-COVID. If you’d like to read up on some of these sticky behaviours we think will prevail, check out our recent blog post. Or, if you’ve read this far and are left thinking “holy heck, what do I do now?”, the answer is: give us a call. We’re always happy to help you devise and conquer a plan to take your business to the next level. Our arms are wide open (virtually, obvs!).

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