COVID-19 has changed life as we know it. As we do everything we can to keep each other safe, our routines have fundamentally shifted. Physical and social isolation have become the norm.
These changes have had a marked impact on how we approach work and leisure as well as our relationships. The way we express ourselves and the way we consume everything from content to products to media has also transformed.
These disruptions have altered the behaviour of billions of consumers who are now at home in lock down or isolation. The way people experience and fulfil their needs has fundamentally shifted.
While it’s still unclear how long this “new normal” will last, and it may well be the case that quarantines and lockdowns ebb and flow on a rolling basis throughout the year, I believe that marketers who understand how consumer behaviour is shifting will be better equipped to adapt.
Time and space
Time, which used to feel in short supply and regimented, is now more fluid. A drastic slowdown of most activities outside the home has increased the time we spend alone, with our loved ones, and in our own heads. And as boredom, anxiety, and uncertainty set in, people are looking for new ways to stay occupied, productive, and calm.
As spaces formerly reserved for home and family are increasingly being transformed into the office/gym/school/restaurant/entertainment centre, people are facing new challenges in keeping their lives organised.
Work and leisure
The normal rhythms of days and weeks have given way to a long duration of sameness, blurring the clear separation between the home and business spheres.
Employers are looking for ways to both protect productivity and ensure team dynamics remain positive. And amid uncertainty about the future of businesses small and large, employees are trying to adjust and to think ahead.
Meanwhile, as travel restrictions keep many from getting on a plane or going to a hotel, the desire to experience, explore, and find inspiration can start to feel more like a necessity than a luxury. People looking to escape are turning to digital to connect with the arts and nature.
Experience with self and others
People with a new appreciation for the importance of staying well are prioritising their physical health, becoming more conscious of their emotional and mental well-being, and making time for self-care rituals.
At the same time, people are hungry to connect with both their immediate and global communities. There’s a desire to be “alone together” as we go about our daily activities and to empathise and learn from those in other countries around the world who have been impacted by the crisis.
Experience with consumption and expenditure
Financially impacted consumers are taking a more conservative approach to discretionary spending as they focus on immediate needs — both material and psychological.
Marketing during a dynamic reprioritisation
Together, these profound shifts in how people experience day-to-day life have created a dynamic reprioritisation of the how, when, where, and why of consumption. They necessitate a rethink — from marketing to the needs of consumers to marketing to the needs of at-home consumers.
Here are three questions to ask yourself as you pivot to meet the needs of at-home consumers:
- How are you providing help to consumers as their needs evolve?
- How are you adjusting to the new 24/7 consumption cycle?
- How are you embracing novelty to help consumers fight boredom?