Astound Commerce has released its latest global consumer survey report—a meticulous analysis of the international impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, with detailed recommendations for retailers and brands on the best recovery strategies.
In January, Astound surveyed 5,500 online consumers in the US, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East on shopping behaviors, channel and type-of-merchant preferences, and general views of online technologies.
As COVID-19 spread with stunning rapidity across the survey regions through March, consumer behavior underwent unprecedented change, pivoting sharply to online shopping. To chart the trajectory and implications of these pandemic-induced shifts, Astound followed up with a May global survey of 500 consumers. The data provided by these surveys limns a detailed picture of the pandemic’s profound and painful effects on retail—and gave Astound’s researcher team the analytic grist needed to identify effective mechanisms for resetting the customer journey.
The 2020 report revealed significant new trends in consumer shopping preferences due to the pandemic, many of which are likely to endure long-term. Areas of research included:
- The correlation between consumer satisfaction and frequency of online shopping
- The regional differences in channel perception and preference
- Preferred in-store precautionary measures
- The impacts of shipping delays and return policies
- Purchasing trends by product category
- D2C opportunities
- The impact of COVID-19 on consumer perception of brands and retailers
- Effective In-store technologies
- Supply chain bottlenecks
- The importance of inventory transparency
- Correlations between customer service and customer loyalty
The study’s findings are particularly valuable to retail and brand managers due to the timing of the two surveys—the first at the advent of the pandemic, the second during the initial period of peak spread. One clear and grim conclusion: while consumers changed their shopping behaviors abruptly, many retailers were caught flat-footed, unable or unwilling to adjust rapidly enough to accommodate the shifts.
The report reveals these many pain points of the pandemic in detail and identifies effective responses and solutions. The surveys tracked consumer reaction to the coronavirus as it spread globally, providing key insights that brand managers and retailers will find invaluable in planning their post-pandemic strategies.
If there is one overriding message in the report, it’s the accelerated dominance of ecommerce in the retail sphere. Astound’s research confirmed that consumers aren’t just ready for a paradigmatic shift to digital shopping platforms—they’re already making the move. The report shows how to expedite this inevitable transition seamlessly, maximizing short-term revenue streams and building long-term customer loyalty.