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Shopper Behavior is Changing for Good.

Who would have thought that in 2020 we would be working remotely and avoiding people and places like never before? The adjustments to businesses across the board are visible in every aspect. Retail behaviour has pretty much all but changed drastically in a relatively short period.

FGX has been fortunate to work with all the biggest retail centres across South Africa for about 18 years now, and as we watch this new future unfolds, it’s evident that we will all need to adapt. It’s highly likely that after this global threat has passed, people and shopper behaviour will have been permanently impacted.

How will this show on your business, and ours? That’s a good question and the very reason we have been keeping an ear to the ground and monitoring key shopper behaviour.

Nielson has been publishing some interesting content and insights that run a little deeper than the unprecedented sales in medical masks and sanitisers. Enough already, we know all about those…

After some dissemination, we believe a few nuggets have been recognised, specifically around the 6 consumer behaviour thresholds of concern that identify common behavioural characteristics.

These, in abbreviated form, basically entail the following (note that this varies from country to country and isn’t a given in SA at this point, though the possibility is high when we look at international matters unfolding):

  1. Proactive health-minded buying
    Interest in products that support overall wellness peaks at the time of limited localised cases reported.
  2. Reactive health management
    There are now high purchases in essential virus containment items such as face masks and sanitisers as local transmissions spread, and the first related deaths are shared through the media.
  3. Pantry preparation
    At first, there is a spike in store visits. Panic buying starts while basket size increases dramatically as multiple deaths are reported. Toilet paper has become a scarcity…
  4. Quarantined living preparation
    After pantry preparation, online shopping spikes while the store visits drop dramatically. Even Checkers will tell you to come back later. Meanwhile, the infection rate keeps increasing radically.
  5. Restricted living
    Online fulfilment is limited; price concerns rise as limited stock availability impacts pricing. Shopping trips are severely restricted as communities are ordered to lockdown.
  6. Living a new normal
    When it has passed, life returns to (a new) normal. Schools reopen, and industry starts back up. But, there are now permanent shifts in supply chains as well as e-commerce, that will be here to stay.

Undeniably, online businesses have been tested to their limits and will emerge with battlefield-ready operational and logistics procedures that will serve us well into the future. Now that even the toughest sceptics on online shopping have come to rely on this technology, it’s highly unlikely that we will see a major decline in the years to come.

Further, it remains to be seen how these times will impact our long-term behaviour as this pandemic will draw to an end, hopefully much sooner than later.

See the original Nielsen article here.