Forrester Research: COVID-19 and the State of the US Consumer

02/09/2020

Consumers may still be cautious about returning to retail stores in the midst of the current pandemic, but they’re developing new shopping behaviours — ones that are worth paying attention to.

That’s the overall takeaway from Forrester’s new report: The State of the US Shopper — COVID-19

In this latest analysis, researchers look at current consumer attitudes toward buying, and offer insights brands and retailers can use as they adapt strategies, services and technologies to meet changing expectations.

Overall, Forrester found that new habits are firmly taking hold, and that many of them are likely to stick around even when the pandemic subsides.

Most notably, 84% of shoppers are buying the same amount or more online. That means many marketplaces and online retail platforms have managed to retain sales, and some are even flourishing. Consumers are also consolidating multiple shopping trips into single visits, leading to bigger basket sizes that help offset declines in traffic.

Moving forward, it will be increasingly important for brands and retailers to test different options for making consumers’ lives easier.

“If retailers have not mastered e-commerce, now is the time to ensure that your online retail site is easy to use and bug-free,” the report’s authors said. “The most advanced online retailers are gathering data, expanding their drop-ship assortments, and piloting new digital marketing tactics like shoppable video to maintain relationships with their customers.”

Key Takeaways:

(1) Consumers Are Cautious About Returning To Retail Locations

As retail locations begin to reopen, consumers are concerned about them reopening too quickly. Their fears around contracting and spreading the virus have caused a change to in-store behaviours.

(2) Consumers Are Buying More Online And Experimenting With Curbside

To keep up with increased e-commerce demand, retailers are adding additional curbside and omnichannel fulfilment. Shoppers have mixed feelings on curbside pickup.

(3) When The Pandemic Subsides, Some New Shopping Behaviours Are Likely To Stick

The pandemic has had a huge impact on consumers’ existing shopping habits, which may accelerate the changes they make over time. As the pandemic progresses, new habits may stick (most likely those that made their lives easier or better).

Download your complimentary copy for more details on:

  • How much spending is occurring in-store versus online
  • What kinds of products and purchases people are making
  • Which retail options consumers are taking advantage of — and where they’re hesitating

Download the report >>