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88% of Shoppers Plan to Stick With Newly Discovered Brands Post-Covid

While the debate continues over whether brand loyalty is dead or alive, one survey suggests the coronavirus pandemic is spurring shoppers to stick to the new habits they’ve been introduced to over the past six months.

Thirty-nine percent of global shoppers purchased from new brands since the pandemic started, and 88 percent plan to continuing buy from those labels in the future, according to research from Bazaarvoice, a provider of product reviews and user-generated content.

If there’s one thing the Covid-19 pandemic has given people, it’s a sense of discomfort, which for some means shopping in entirely new channels. According to the “Behavior that Sticks” report, 51 percent of consumers in the U.S. purchased from a different brand than usual or a brand they’ve never heard of before.

There are some generational differences, as it appears younger consumers are more willing to branch out into new shopping habits. When it came to purchasing from different brands in this period, nearly 70 percent of 35-to-44 year olds tested out new product options, compared to only 32 percent of those over 65.

The report includes insights about shopping habits from more than 8,000 consumers across the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany and Australia, and highlights trends that have already been on the rise before the coronavirus crisis: the ongoing growth of subscription services, the increase in digital savviness among consumers, and social commerce and a sense of community will continue to play a role in the customer-brand relationship.

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While 25 percent of U.S. consumers turned to subscription services to make it through quarantine, 85 percent of those that joined one said they will continue to pay for their subscription post lockdown, citing confidence in the product quality (48 percent of shoppers), ease of access (48 percent) and regular and reliable delivery (38 percent).

Ease was a major factor for why those between 55 and 75 years old would choose to continue their subscriptions, and regular and reliable delivery was a key benefit for 73 percent of shoppers over the age of 65.

“The success of subscription services reflects the rapid digital evolution we have experienced this year. Younger consumers are some of the most powerful influencers and their use of social media plays a large part in enabling customers to share experiences that credit these brands,” said Suzin Wold, senior vice president of marketing at Bazaarvoice. “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.”

With social media already being such an influence on the shopping decision making process, it’s not a revelation that it continues to make an impact especially since shoppers may still be hesitant to go back into a store.

A previous Bazaarvoice survey from April noted that in the year prior, 45 percent of respondents said they had purchased a product through a social media platform, while 41 percent had purchased a product an influencer had recommended.

Fast forward to the recent survey and 51 percent of millennials say they will continue to source recommendations from social networks, primarily through Facebook, while 48 percent will continue to watch influencer unboxing videos and shopping hauls. It’s clear that these habits have become a greater part of a consumer’s life, especially if social media is a primary form of communication now.

“Retailers and brands must stay in tune with consumers’ priorities over the coming months and ensure they provide store and product information that instills confidence in shoppers,” Wold said. “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 omnichannel approach not only enables a stronger connection with consumers but also creates a seamless experience.”

With social media among other digital channels remaining front and center in many shoppers’ day-to-day activities, being able to effectively communicate how a product works, looks and feels is crucial for brands and retailers, especially through a mobile device. As many as 40 percent of Gen Z shoppers and 42 percent of millennials connected with a brand app during lockdown, with 66 percent using mobile self-checkout in physical stores that were either open or reopened.

And perhaps because consumers spend so much time on social media, mobile devices and computers at home, television advertising remains one of the least effective platforms when it comes to influencing product purchases, with just 5 percent of consumers saying they’ve been swayed by content they have seen there.