Sydney, Australia, 7 September 2020: 41% of Australian consumers purchased from new brands during lockdown and a significant 85% will continue to buy from those brands in the future, according to new research conducted by Bazaarvoice Inc., the leading provider of product reviews and user-generated content (UCG).
The ‘Behaviour that Sticks report, includes insights about shopping habits from more than 8,000 consumers across the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany and Australia and explores the trends likely to continue post lockdown.
Adventurous shoppers find new brands
In Australia, 21% of consumers shopped online at least once a week during the lockdown period of their respective state or territory, with 1 in 10 making multiple purchases a week. Younger generations were more adventurous when it came to purchasing from different brands in this period, with almost two thirds (59%) of Gen Z (18-24-year olds) testing out new product options, compared to just 19% of over 65s.
Despite retail stores reopening and consumers having more choice now, just 15% of Aussies plan to revert to their pre-lockdown product choices, even though a quarter (24%) only elected to try a new brand because their preferred brand was unavailable. Other key reasons shoppers will not continue to buy from the new brand they discovered are that it is too expensive (18%) or that products lack quality (18%).
Demand for specific products skyrocketed during the early stages of the pandemic, and with non-essential stores shuttered and grocery store shelves empty, 1 in 5 Australian consumers turned to subscription services to make it through lockdown. Much like the purchasing of new brands, once tried and tested, 80% will continue with their subscription post lockdown, citing confidence in the product quality (48%), ease (40%) and regular and reliable delivery (38%). The availability of ratings and reviews was also a key factor for consumers, with 16% citing it as a reason to remain loyal to their subscription services.
Savvy shoppers go digital
Price continues to be important for Aussie shoppers, with 35% citing it as the most influential factor in any purchases they will make in the next three months. Unsurprisingly, the ability to buy products online and the availability of stock will also be a big deciding factor (15%), making it clear that all retailers must deliver an omni-channel strategy.
Interestingly, despite the amount of time spent at home, television advertising remains one of the least influential platforms when it comes to purchasing a product, with just 5% of consumers being swayed by content they have seen there. Consumers are much more likely to be persuaded by positive reviews and product ratings from other shoppers as they look to purchase products in the next three months.
Being able to effectively communicate how a product works, looks and feels is crucial for brands and retailers facing this rapid shift to digital. During lockdown, a third of Gen Z (33%) and nearly half of Millennials (45%) connected with a brand app during lockdown, with more than a third utilising chat-bots to connect with sales associates prior to purchasing.
Kate Musgrove, APAC Managing Director at Bazaarvoice, comments, “Amazon has been one of the big winners of the last few months, but our research shows that 4 out of 5 Australian consumers are likely to increase their shopping at independent stores, either online or locally. This presents a huge opportunity for other brands to win loyalty from new customers as people’s habits change. Younger consumers are some of the most powerful influencers and their use of social plays a large part in enabling customers to share experiences that credit these brands. In addition, their reliance on ratings and reviews content only highlights the enormous opportunity brands have to use the voice of the customer to create more meaningful shopper experiences, which ultimately results in more sales and customer loyalty.”
The way forward
There is no question that there has been an unprecedented shift in consumer behaviour, and one that will have a lasting impact on the retail industry. Before the end of October, 68% of Australian consumers admit they are likely to purchase online, with three quarters (64%) of Australians now feeling comfortable shopping online.
When it comes to shopping in-store, 81% of consumers are likely to do so before the end of October, however just 52% feel comfortable in doing so. There are key considerations for brick and mortar retailers in order to increase footfall; over half of consumers (51%) will be wary of returning to shop in-store if they don’t trust retailers to maintain cleanliness, whilst 35% feel transparency of safety and hygiene protocol is also critical.
Musgrove continues, “Retailers and brands must stay in tune with consumers’ priorities over the coming months and ensure they provide store and product information that instils confidence in shoppers. As consumers return in-store, the use of technology to connect online and offline and provide shoppers with product information before they visit will be important. An omni-channel approach not only enables a stronger connection with consumers but also creates a seamless experience.”
8,062 consumers were surveyed through Savanta research in July 2020 about their motivators and barriers to purchase, across six different countries; UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the United States.
The Behaviour that Sticks eBook can be found here.
Each month in the Bazaarvoice Network, more than a billion consumers create, view, and share authentic user generated-content including reviews, questions and answers, and social photos across more than 6,200 global brand and retailer websites. From search and discovery to purchase and advocacy, Bazaarvoice’s solutions help brands and retailers reach in-market shoppers, personalize their experiences, and give them the confidence to buy.
Founded in 2005, Bazaarvoice is headquartered in Austin, Texas, with offices in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. For more information, visit www.bazaarvoice.com