Building Bonds with Consumers in Times of Uncertainty | Market Research Blog

During a global health crisis, it is understandable that consumers are more selective over their choice of products and services, as uncertainty around incomes, staying healthy and maintaining mental health are on the rise. Gaining deeper knowledge around buying behaviours and understanding shifts in consumer sentiment are vital for businesses to stay competitive and adapt in order to appeal to this new consumer.

Euromonitor International’s 2020 Lifestyles Survey identifies that 52% of overall global respondents only “buy from companies and brands that they trust completely”, and single out retailers that are reliable, responsible and deliver on their promises; the pandemic will have accelerated this trend.

Source: Euromonitor International 2020 Lifestyles Survey fielded Jan-Feb 2020

Recommendations more important than ever

As consumers continue their shift to life online, having access to a source of known and trusted recommendations has meant that friends’ social media posts or mentions have become more crucial when making a purchasing decision. In our 2020 Lifestyles Survey, 54% of global respondents rated these posts as very/extremely important, an increase of 11 percentage points over 2017.

Friends and family and independent consumer reviews are the first choices when consumers need feedback and appraisal on products and services, over and above other types of endorsements or incentives, and this was particularly apparent in the Middle East and Africa region.

Source: Euromonitor International 2020 Lifestyles Survey fielded Jan-Feb 2020.

Euromonitor International’s Lifestyles reports use unique insights from our annual Lifestyles Survey, along with examples of how companies are responding to consumer sentiment that highlight these shifts:

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• In France, our survey identified that 48% of consumers in 2020 “only buy from brands and companies that they trust completely”. In light of COVID-19, safety has effectively become the new wellness, and consumers are choosing trusted brands. This opens up opportunities for food certifications and services that enable a more transparent and reliable farm-to-fork journey. One example is Danone’s recent Track & Connect service, a digitally-enabled service based on blockchain that gives consumers and retailers greater transparency of the supply chain for its baby formula products. Customers can scan a dual QR code system on the pack through their smartphones to verify the quality and authenticity of the product by accessing where and when the milk formula was manufactured.

• In Nigeria, 68% of respondents in 2020 said they look for healthy ingredients in the food they eat and 67% said they will be more engaged with their community in future. Companies are recognising that they need to adapt their products and strategies to reflect changing expectations. For example, Nestlé Nigeria relaunched its Golden Morn breakfast cereal in January 2020 with new packaging and improved nutrition. The product is fortified with Grainsmart, a blend of iron and vitamins A, B and C. The product, which uses 100% locally-sourced agricultural and packaging materials, promotes the fact that it was created and produced by Nigerians in Nigeria, fitting consumers’ growing concerns about supporting domestic businesses and local communities and having access to foods that support their health.

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• In Mexico, 35% in the 60+ age group in 2020 said they buy products and services from purpose-driven brands/companies. A commission-free digital platform, Tiendita Cerca, was launched in April 2020, by AB InBev’s Grupo Modelo, to support the local economy during the COVID-19 crisis, by connecting local providers to consumers, where they can browse a directory of shops and place orders for home delivery via a phone call or WhatsApp message. This initiative was welcomed by consumers, as it enabled them to continue to buy products from local businesses while they were isolating at home while reaffirming their sense of connection with Grupo Modelo, as a company with a purpose, during a time of great uncertainty.

As the pandemic rages on worldwide, consumers will continue to expect brands and companies to inspire them with their sustained, thoughtful and caring approach while they battle with the economic, emotional and psychological impact that COVID-19 is having on their lives.

Find out more about the 11 distinctive consumer types and how their purchasing behaviour has changed over time from our complimentary white paper Understanding the Path to Purchase: 2020 Consumer Types.


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