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Has COVID-19 Changed Consumer Spending Forever?

  


3/16/2021

In the final quarter of 2020, the Teleperformance Customer Experience Lab (CX Lab) surveyed 51,919 people from 13 different countries and asked about their experience with companies in 19 different industries. The survey featured a wide array of dimensions and offers insight into channel preferences and brand perception at the end of 2020.


Because the most important social and business event of 2020 was the global COVID-19 pandemic, we took a subset of the survey and asked them specific questions about how this crisis has changed their behavior or outlook as consumers. This article refers to the 17,602 consumers who specifically answered questions about their pandemic experience.


There are some dramatic insights in this survey. Before the pandemic, it is safe to say that none of your customers were making purchasing decisions based on how your brand cares for your employees during a crisis. Today, with experience of a genuine crisis, this is now one of the top three factors influencing how customers choose where to spend. 39% of respondents also said that customer service quality is one of the main factors influencing where they spend.


This suggests that both customer experience and employee experience have both been elevated by consumers throughout the crisis. Customers will actively seek out brands that care for them AND their employees.

A few key takeaways from the COVID-19 edition of the survey were:

1. Consumer’s spending intention: Travel and tourism saw a strong reduction in future spending intention and categories such as electronics, food delivery, skincare, and automotive saw an intention to spend more.

2. Changes in shopping behavior: Nearly 40% of consumers now say they are more mindful about getting a good relationship between price and quality and choosing brands that provide good customer service. Customers are also concerned about the way that brands cared for their employees during the pandemic.

3. Customer service differentiation: 26% of consumers would be very willing to pay more for products or services if the brand could then offer better customer service. Millennials are the demographic most willing to pay more for better service.

4. Working from home: Over a third of the respondents were working from home most, or part, of the time. 41% of those working regularly from home said they preferred it and wanted to continue this way - it was particularly popular amongst older and female respondents.

 
As an example of just how insightful this survey really is, take a look at several changes in shopping behavior:

1. I’m more mindful about getting a good price/quality balance than before: 40% strongly agreed, 29% were neutral, and 29% disagreed.

2. I value brands that cared about their employees during the pandemic: 37% strongly agreed, 28% were neutral, and 30% disagreed.


These are extremely important insights, not least because the second one didn’t even exist a year earlier. Customers are clearly becoming more thoughtful and focusing their spending on more essential products and demanding better service - over a third are strongly influenced by service levels when deciding where to spend.


Naturally, this article is just a very brief insight into the survey. It’s really a “summary of a summary” because we have prepared a white paper that summarizes the survey. Throughout 2021, we will publish a series of papers and articles that drill into more detail—we have feedback from almost 52,000 people in 13 countries so there is a lot to cover!


If you are interested in reading the full white paper featuring a more detailed introduction into the 2020 CX Lab Survey, you may register and download it for free by clicking here. For more information on how the CX Lab can help your brand elevate the customer experience, visit them here.

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