Somehow, we’ve reached July and the world continues to feel upside down.

For many marketers who thought they just had to tough out a few months of Covid-19-induced hysteria, the ‘return to normal’ now appears distant on the horizon. Covid-19 has upended consumers’ approaches to shopping and spending.

Research agency Opinium surveyed 2,000 nationally representative US adults between June 19th and 224th to understand how Covid-19 has reshaped the marketing funnel and which consumer trends are here to stay. 

54% of Americans are sticking to their usual brands during Covid-19 and 41% are cautious about trying new products

Covid-19 and the ensuing economic hardships have made American consumers extremely cautious—54% say they are sticking to the brands they usually buy from during this time.

Similarly, 41% say they are cautious about trying new products right now compared to only 19% who disagree. With all the uncertainty consumers are facing in their lives, they appear to be clinging to their go-to brands for stability and ease. No more surprises! 

So, many consumers are on autopilot. That’s great if your product is already on their radar—consumer loyalty may be stickier now than in normal times. But how can marketers win over consumers where they may be considering new purchases or less stuck in their ways? 

The ‘consideration’ phase of the purchase funnel has been lengthened due to Covid-19 

54% say they are taking more time to consider what they buy and 46% say they’re shopping around to find the best deals more than before. With that in mind, it may be wise for brands to reallocate marketing effort towards the consideration phase of the funnel and to emphasize competitive advantages especially around cost.

Half of Americans are trying to buy more from local and small businesses, a habit they plan to keep post-corona

Covid-19 seems to be ushering in a new era of pride and support for local communities. About half of Americans say they have been trying to buy more from local (48%) and small businesses (46%), those at greatest risk of not bouncing back from the shutdowns. 

This ‘shop local’ trend is likely to stick around—49% of Americans say they will buy more from local and small businesses after things return to ‘normal’ than before Covid-19. As marketers seek to differentiate their products and services from the pack, emphasizing ties to and support for local communities will resonate well with consumers. 

Over 3 in 5 Americans say they’ll want to treat themselves after Covid-19

In promising news for companies, consumers express an eagerness to indulge post-Covid-19 as a reaction to the many constraints placed on them throughout the pandemic thus far.

This suggests we may see a celebratory uptick in spending post-corona, whenever that may be. Over 3 in 5 Americans (62%) say they will want to treat themselves when life is back to ‘normal’ and almost half (46%) expect to want ‘a little luxury’ in their lives after lockdown.

2 in 5 Americans (41%) feel that social distancing will actually leave them with a fuller piggy bank and expect they’ll have more money saved after social distancing than when it began. Messaging inviting consumers to indulge will likely be effective in this phase.  

To get a feel for what consumers will be most eager to return to post-corona, we asked them what they have missed most during social distancing. Eating out and traveling topped the list, suggesting these are key areas that will see a celebratory boost in spending when this is all over.

About the Author: Giulia Prati is a seasoned market researcher who has spent her career analyzing the most effective marketing and communications strategies. She leads research agency Opinium’s US office and is based in NYC, overseeing US projects and client relationships. Prior to Opinium, Giulia was a Strategy Director at Weber Shandwick where she developed data-driven marketing and communications strategies for clients spanning tech, industrial, healthcare, financial services, and CPG. Giulia also spent several years at Gartner L2, benchmarking brands based on their digital marketing competence, leading Beauty sector research, and developing the Digital IQ Index methodology.