How has covid affected this year’s customer buying trends?
In these last two years, covid has massively altered every aspect of our life. From how we work, to the way we shop, and even socialise. We hoped 2022 would be the year where we would go back to a normal life, back to a pre-covid day to day. However, for now, not much has changed. What has changed, however, and what is going to solidify even more throughout this year, is the new shopping habits and customer buying trends that covid has shaped. These include digital adoption due to remote working, online shopping, increased interest in health and wellbeing, interior home decor and value-based purchases.
To gain a better understanding of these trends, let’s have a look at these growing sectors in more detail.
Customer Buying Trend #1: Online Shopping
How has e-commerce and online shopping grown in the past few years?
Online purchasing was already gradually increasing, but due to covid, it has rapidly become a global necessity. Especially during the various lockdowns, people had to rely on e-commerce businesses and companies such as Amazon, eBay and others to get everything they wanted and needed.
This change in shopping quickly became an ingrained habit due to its simplicity and efficiency when ordering anything online. Even when stores reopened, many still chose to shop online, whether for convenience or fear of getting infected by the virus.
Even if in the future the virus does weaken, vanish or become part of our daily life to the point we treat it like a winter flu, e-commerce and online shopping is a trend that won’t go away, especially not in 2022. Actually, it will likely keep growing year on year.
A crucial aspect of e-commerce purchases is online delivery. In the past few years, deliveries have gotten quicker and quicker. Indeed, delivery companies are constantly trying to improve and accelerate their service.
To think that in the UK, the online food ordering & delivery platforms industry has grown 35% on average every year since 2017. This accelerated growth has even surpassed the technology sector, which is astonishing.
So, what do these delivery companies offer?
For instance, FedEx offers priority overnight shipping, arriving at your door by 10:30 am the following morning. They even offer same-day delivery for certain packages.
Another company that offers this type of service is Royal Mail. They give their customers the option of same-day delivery for urgent packages that need to get to their destination quickly and on time.
As demand and competition grows, similar delivery companies such as DHL, UPS and others are also offering these services.
The more customers are getting used to this speedy delivery, the more they are expecting it. For this reason, 2022 will be a year where this trend will continue to develop and evolve to meet this new customer demand and habit.
Amazon, founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994, is the largest online retailer in the world. Today, the e-commerce company offers several delivery options, depending on the customer’s needs and preferences.
Like most online stores, Amazon offers free delivery if a customer spends £10 or more. This service usually takes between 3 to 5 working days. However, sometimes it can even be quicker than that.
Otherwise, if shoppers are in a rush, they can always opt for one-day or premium delivery. If they are a Prime member, that would be free, if not, they would have to pay £4.99 for it.
Amazon goes as far as offering same-day delivery to Prime members for free (or £5.99 if that’s not the case). However, it also depends on whether the product is eligible for same-day delivery.
It almost seems difficult to conceptualize how someone can buy and receive a package on the same day, especially when multiple steps are required for this to be achieved.
Amazon offers other delivery options such as free enhanced delivery, express delivery and priority delivery. This gives the customer the freedom of choosing the option that best suits their time and needs.
As discussed, Amazon is not the only company offering these options. This means that consumers are spoilt for choice. It is predicted that 2022 will be a year where this trend will keep evolving and improving. How fast can deliveries get? Same-day is already extremely fast. Who knows, maybe we could even get our parcel in 1 or 2 hours if this trend continues to grow.
Shopping on social media has massively grown throughout these past years. Today, social commerce is worth over $492 billion and is estimated to grow 3 times faster than traditional e-commerce, reaching $1.2 trillion by 2025.
It’s really no surprise, especially considering how much time we spend on our phones and these platforms every day. Each day, people spend on average 6.4 hours on the internet, where 2.4 of it is spent on social media.
The digital world has accelerated at such an impressive rate throughout covid. Having to work, study and be entertained at home, many, if not all of us, had to rely on our phones, laptops and other devices to accomplish everything we needed (and wanted) to do.
In turn, as more people spend an increasing amount of time online, e-commerce and specifically social commerce will definitely keep growing in 2022.
Customer Buying Trend #2: Health and Wellbeing
If there’s anything we’ve learnt from this pandemic, it is to take care of ourselves. Unfortunately, covid-19 can get anyone of any age or any gender. So, it’s crucial to do everything we can to prevent it from getting into our system. We do this by wearing masks, using antibacterial gel, washing our hands regularly, keeping at a distance and even cleaning our groceries when getting home.
Even if this pandemic has forced us to limit our socializing, it has allowed us to reflect on ourselves, find new interests and figure out what we really want in our life. Self-care has become a crucial part of our life, a necessity rather than an option. It’s a positive habit that many people are now taking time to focus on, whether it is on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
Truthfully, self-care could be anything. From reading, jogging or cooking to painting, going to a hair salon, taking a bath and even getting a massage. In general, consumers consider 6 aspects when it comes to wellness: health, fitness, nutrition, appearance, sleep and mindfulness.
What is certain is that 2022 will be a year where consumers will look to invest in products and services that relate to self-care. Indeed, the Global Wellness Institute states that the wellness industry is currently worth $4.5 trillion, and it will keep growing every year.
Mental and Physical Health
The Global Wellness Institute also states that the physical activity market will reach, and even exceed, $1.1 trillion by 2023.
Exercising can do wonders for someone’s mental and physical health. Here are a few benefits a person can gain from practising sports like running, cycling, swimming, boxing, dancing and yoga:
- Decreased feelings of stress
- Reduced anxiety and depression as exercise releases endorphins into the brain like serotonin
- Increased energy and improved mood
- Greater sense of mindfulness
- Strengthened immune system
- Lowered blood pressure and improved heart health
The pandemic has allowed people to try new exercises and stick to them. Therefore, it only makes sense that consumers are now spending more of their money on tools, equipment and clothes that relate to their chosen practice. This even includes gym memberships, mobile apps, smart equipment (e.g. heart monitor) athleisure garments and everything else that encompasses exercising.
If we look at the global yoga market alone, today is worth over $130 billion, and it is forecasted to reach $215 billion by 2025.
Based on the data gathered, the physical activity economy and the overall wellness market is sure to keep growing throughout this year, making it one of the most important consumer buying trends for 2022.
Customer Buying Trend #3: Home Life
Working From Home
The pandemic has also affected the way we work. Many of us, due to lockdown, were forced to work from home as we were no longer able to head to an office. This meant that our personal space also became our working environment.
Technology played a crucial role in allowing us to do so. We would use chatting services and video calls to communicate. We relied on our personal Wi-Fi and laptop/desktop as well as phone to accomplish every task we needed to do. In most cases, we also invested part of our money to make sure everything worked as well as it could.
But has this now changed? As the world has stepped towards normality, with shops, restaurants and other services functioning again, some of us are still in the same position as we were over a year ago. We still work from home, or in some cases have flexible working conditions that allow us to divide our working time between the office and our home. This means we are also still relying on the technology that has helped us to work throughout the past few years.
Due to the current state we are in, and uncertain of how the world will be in the near future, technological advancements in regards to what we are discussing will continue to grow and develop.
Also, every company, no matter how big or small, wants to grow, succeed, gain new customers and generate more sales. As people are spending an increasing amount of time online, it only makes sense to invest more time and money in areas where consumers are hanging out.
Another trend that will solidify in 2022 is home decor and interior design. As previously mentioned, the pandemic has forced us to spend more time at home, and for some of us, that’s where we spend most of the day. In turn, we have more time to reflect on how each room in our home makes us feel, and explore what furniture, decorations or accessories could make it look better. At the end of the day, if we don’t feel at home where we live, then how can we be comfortable spending most of the day there? As a result, this year, consumers will spend more on creating a space that reflects their own unique personality and style.
Also, in 2022 people will be hosting again (if it’s allowed). They will invite friends and family over, and they will want their home to make a great impression. For this reason, the interior decor sector will flourish this year, as shoppers will want to make their home a beautiful and inviting space that will mesmerize whoever comes to visit.
Customer Buying Trend #4: Value-Based Purchases
The last area we will look at is what other types of purchases consumers will make in 2022. When it comes to shopping, we will see a rise in buying products or services that are in tune with one’s beliefs and interests. For instance, purchases that can make a difference.
Due to the rise of the internet and public information, consumers are more aware than ever before of their surroundings, and the damages that their shopping habits are having on their community, environment and the rest of the world. Therefore, people will be more inclined to support local businesses rather than exploitative multinational corporations.
Also, we are all well aware of the climate crisis and how it’s negatively affecting the world we live in. Due to this fact, a sustainable trend will continue to increase throughout 2022. What we mean by this is consumers will support and put their money in companies that are taking a step towards being more ethical and sustainable. People want to make a difference, but they need businesses’ help to achieve this.
In regards to value-based purchases, consumers will also stop engaging with brands unless they take actions to make them feel appreciated.
A Business That Cares
Over 66% of consumers feel like they are being ignored by companies they did business with, making them rethink purchasing from them again. These negative feelings arise when businesses don’t listen or act upon the feedback they receive from their customers.
In fact, consumers don’t want to be seen as merely a commodity, but as a person with feelings and opinions. They want to receive the attention and help they deserve. If not, they won’t buy from that company again or recommend them to friends and family. Worse, they could even post negative comments about them online.
Therefore, if a customer takes time out of their day to write to a company or write something about them online, that business should make sure to do something about it. For instance, if they write an online review, the company should answer it and thank them for the feedback. In the case they do receive a negative review, it’s arguably even more important to respond to it. By showing empathy, understanding and a solution to the issue, the business can salvage its online reputation. Not only that, but according to Small Business Trends, 30% of consumers will change their negative review once their concern has been answered or solved.
Reviews are a great source of social proof that help potential customers get an idea of who a business is and how trustworthy it can be. Indeed, reading reviews has become a pivotal aspect of the purchasing process. Most people will also read business responses to reviews to check how they behave and see whether doing business with them is worth their hard-earned money.
So, if you’re a business owner, make sure to show your customers that you care about their opinions and feedback by always replying to their comments. By doing this, not only will you retain your precious customers in 2022, but it will also be easier to gain new ones.
In a Nutshell
As we’ve seen, the main customer buying trends for 2022 are an outcome of new or reinforced habits that have developed throughout the pandemic.
Firstly, online shopping will continue to grow through e-commerce, social commerce and delivery services.
There will also be a digital acceleration regarding tools for smart learning and working, a trend that has boomed within the past few years and is still growing today.
From a personal perspective, purchases relating to wellness and self-care (including exercising) will massively increase in 2022, as people are more willing to take time to focus on their mental and physical health.
No matter if the pandemic situation eases or worsens (hopefully not), there will be a surge in interior design and home decor as consumers will be looking to create a space that reflects their unique personality and style.
Finally, value-based purchases will be a new habit that consumers will adopt in 2022, buying from companies they can relate to. However, we’ve also seen that consumers will stop purchasing from businesses that don’t listen to their feedback or fail to make them feel appreciated. So, make sure to take the time to show your customers how much you value their loyalty and honest feedback, whether positive or negative.