4 Consumer Concerns Driving Purchasing Decisions for Summer in the Covid Age

It’s fair to say a lot has happened since the start of 2020. Consumers are responding to recent events by resetting their priorities and changing their behavior. However, as we noted in an earlier blog, many of these changes were already in the works. What’s on the consumer’s mind? We have identified 4 consumer concerns driving purchasing decisions for Summer in the Covid age.

CLEANLINESS and Social Distancing

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According to a recent poll by McKinsey and Company, 80% of US consumers are continuing to wait before fully engaging in out of home activities. When they are choosing to go out and shop, 31% are looking for enhanced cleaning and sanitization, 25% for masks and barriers, and 15% for social distancing.

Consumers want to know what you are doing to protect them and your employees. Use your social media channels and in-store signage to spread the word about your efforts and give consumers the confidence they need to return.

Customers will be watching to see how you have adapted the whole scale of your operations, not just your cleaning procedures. This includes a layout that allows for social distancing, shelves that are easy to grab products from, use of personal protective equipment, and contactless payment and pick-up options.


equality and Inclusivity

The fight for equality is currently on everyone’s mind. As protests continue, retailers are responding.

Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand announced they will be donating $100 million over the next decade for “protecting and improving the lives of Black people through actions dedicated towards, racial equality, social justice and education.”

Starbucks released a statement supporting employees who want to wear their own t-shirts, pins and names tags to support Black Lives Matter. Starbucks also produced a t-shirt for store partners (employees) focused on unity and speaking up.

Crayola draws attention to inclusion by releasing a new collection, already in the works 8 months ago. The Colors of the World crayons is the result of a partnership with former MAC chemist Victor Casale. Previously Casale created shade palettes for the global beauty industry.

But, as Allure observes, while concealer collections and foundations come in up to 50 shades of nuanced colors, crayons do not even though children do want to see their unique skin shades reflected back to them.

“What they can learn from the Colors of the World crayons is that the desire for inclusivity begins at a young age, and through adequate representation, children are able to feel confident, included, and important — just like an adult feels when they find their perfect shade at the beauty counter,” Casale tells Allure.

The Colors of the World collection (seen below) is available for as little as $3, and promotes inclusivity.

Image credit: allure.com

Support for Local Retailers and products

Local retailers got creative to reach out to customers during store closures. This includes streaming live classes and virtual shopping. Consumers were reminded how vital independent retailers are to communities.

For instance, the local Toronto toy store Swag Sisters used social media to encourage customers to reach out as they expanded their online offerings. They hosts appointments for virtual shopping to take customers through their store to pick out items. Purchased items are available for curbside pickup or delivery.

Additionally, travel is still limited and grocery lines are long. Consumers are taking a new look a local stores to get services closer to home. Last, disrupted shipping speeds sometimes made it easier to call or message a local retailer. Consumers could then engage with contactless pickup or home delivery from local businesses.

The desire to “shop local” was already trending among consumers before COVID-19. This is another trend COVID-19 has accelerated thanks to travel restrictions and the disruption of global supply chains. As consumers see the importance of local retailers and products to their communities, they are putting their dollars where their values are.

Unless you do it on time, in full, at every site, you are not executing at all

Self-Care and Family

School was cut short and now many summer camps and childcare programs are reduced or cancelled entirely. These means masses of parents still working need ways to amuse, teach, and support their kids during this time. All of this is added stress, which means consumers are also interested in self-care.

A recent survey by Cratejoy, a subscription box retailer, found that more than 50% of consumers are shopping for self-care items as well as treats for themselves and their families. In fact, Cratejoy found that consumers spending on kid’s educational activities has doubled.

A quick look at Rising Retail Categories from Think Google demonstrates that consumers are searching for products to be active and outside together. In April alone the the cycling industry saw a sales growth of 75% to $1 billion over last year.

Travel restrictions are still in place in the air and at borders. This means many consumers are turning to local campgrounds and RVs for their much needed family and personal summer vacations. According to the NDP Group, camp equipment, road trip essentials, and RVs are seeing double and triple sales growth.

As MoneySense observes, self and family care also includes the rise in purchases related to home improvement, home decor to improve surroundings, gardening equipment, and cooking and baking supplies. With such diverse categories, there are a number of ways retailers can pivot their offerings to capitalize on this trend.

Need some inspiration, see our blog > 10 Merchandising Tips for Diving Sales During COVID-19

Your turn…

What consumer concerns and priorities do you see influencing purchasing trends? Let us know in the comments.

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