The Future Shopper 2020

How will the COVID-19 pandemic affect the future shopper?

Wunderman Thompson Commerce’s Future Shopper 2020 report identifies trends in consumer digital buying behaviour to help influence organisations’ strategies and ensure they’re ready for the consumer and the channels of the future.

This year’s Future Shopper report has landed at a time of even greater change than usual, with the world turned upside-down by COVID-19. The research began just as we started to feel the effects of the pandemic, which means the report gives an initial insight not only into current digital commerce shopping habits but also how these habits might change in a future impacted by coronavirus. As well as analysing the data, we consider how the outbreak affects the trends and insights that it presents.

Irrespective of the pandemic, one thing is clear: digital commerce is on the rise. Sixty-five per cent of consumers say they expect to use digital shopping channels more in the future, with an even higher percentage of 16 to 24 year olds (72%) saying they would increase their online spend. The closure of shops during the lockdown means that number is likely to rise even further as we become accustomed to relying on ecommerce sites and providers.

Key focus areas of The Future Shopper 2020 report include:

The customer journey is no longer linear

The grip that Amazon has on some of the major consumer touchpoints is clear. Search engines and retailers who aggregate data and who sell a wide range of products are the next strongest group, backing up the idea that consumers want ease, speed and convenience.

Meanwhile, direct-to-consumer brands face a challenging set of consumer behaviours. They need to offer a product and an experience that is superior to their marketplace or retailer competition, to encourage customers to buy direct.

Direct-to-consumer sites

Consumers believe that brands have a role to play in their digital commerce experience, but this differs according to sector. As well as emphasising the benefits of coming to them direct, brands also need to invest in customer service. It’s vital that they can counter, or at the very least match the service levels offered by Amazon and other marketplaces and retailers. One concern about the impact of COVID-19 is that while some brands are halting their offerings altogether, we are seeing a huge Amazon customer acquisition at play from which brands may struggle to recover.

Amazon and the Prime effect

Customers clearly value the services that Amazon offers and it comes out on top across numerous key metrics in digital commerce. Sure, it has work to do to establish more faith in its reviews, but in Prime, it has a programme capable of changing customer perceptions and encouraging them to buy more.

It’s not the same across all sectors

In certain sectors Amazon’s dominance is unquestionable. In other sectors brands are strongest, while in some the retailers hold the cards. What this shows is that as well as a balanced ecommerce strategy, organisations must think about their industry and their customers to ensure that they are selling through, and focusing on, the right channels.

Redefining and reconsidering business models in our new age

The world of digital commerce is constantly breaking new ground – and new technologies are changing customer expectations. Necessity is the mother of invention, and it’s likely that the impact of COVID-19 will see a proliferation of new technologies and providers seeking to address our new consumer habits. Our traditional shopping behaviours have already been disrupted, meaning that as consumers we are more likely to be open to trying new technologies. Organisations must keep abreast of all these changes and whip up customer experience teams capable of identifying changing trends that businesses can respond to in agile ways.

For more in-depth insight and analysis, read Wunderman Thompson Commerce’s The Future Shopper 2020 report

Hugh Fletcher

Wunderman Thompson Commerce

published on

26 May 2020


Commerce Experience Technology & data

Related Topics

Consumer behaviour COVID-19 Ecommerce Retail

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