The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live, work, communicate and even shop. Social distancing and restrictions have brought about a paradigm shift in consumer behaviour that will continue in 2021. The economic upheaval and the humanitarian crisis have altered buyer preferences and made them reticent. However, brands have stepped up their game and are making reluctant shoppers come back to the market.
Although we were the least impacted nation in the world, the lockdown and the contagion have led to profound changes in the commercial sector. Thus, if you are planning to purchase a business for sale in New Zealand, you must be aware of this transformation. So here is a look at how the buying priorities have shifted post the pandemic and how businesses can deal with them.
Increased Digital Dependency Among Buyers
The contagion has influenced the way people interact with their friends, co-workers, neighbours, etc. With more time being spent indoors, people are now becoming dependent on the digital medium to connect with their loved ones, work from home, and buy essentials and other household items. The number of online shoppers has been increasing steadily in the country, and almost 88% of people aged between 16- and 64-years searching for goods and services online.
Many people who were earlier reluctant to shop online have taken to the medium during the new normal. These online shoppers will continue to use the medium because they now trust the platform and are satisfied by the comfort of getting things delivered at home. Businesses that have understood the change are offering online ordering through their websites to meet the demand of the target market. Most of them have been enjoying increased profits as they have expanded their customer database through the digital medium.
Emphasis on Value-Based Purchasing
Consumers have stopped discretionary shopping in the current circumstances. The tourism sector has been severely affected by the spread of the virus across the world. According to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the GDP reduced by 37% during level 4 restrictions. The situation has forced the buyers to focus more on essentials and products that offer value for money. People are more interested in buying local products than choosing international brands. Thus, local businesses are getting more orders than they expected since people are not travelling to far-off places to get the items. It has also become a way of showing support to the local businesses that are suffering due to the pandemic.
Sellers have understood the need of the buyers and are now selling value-based products that are being readily picked up by consumers. They are using the digital medium to sell 24x7 and offer to track of the shipment that gives customers peace of mind about receiving their deliveries.
Choosing Sustainable Brands While Shopping
Ethical and eco-conscious buying is on the rise after the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers are looking for organic products that do not leave behind a carbon footprint or hurt the environment. The wrath of the virus has made people aware of the importance of their surroundings and well-being. Thus, they are opting for environmentally friendly products and reusing and recycling to reduce their impact on nature. They are avoiding products with plastic packaging and refraining from wasting food.
The pandemic has made people choose wisely and pay attention to healthier options. Thus, businesses have to adopt ways of making sustainability a part of their organisation. They have to improve their capabilities and technical support to reach the customers and fulfil their desires in the perfect manner.
Preference for Contactless Deliveries
While earlier consumers were sceptical about using their credit card information to shop online, they now prefer making contactless payments. The option of ordering stuff online saves them from standing in queues at the supermarket and reducing physical contact with the staff members. Many business owners had started curbside pickups and contactless deliveries to make sure that their employees and customers were safe during the pandemic.
The ease of making payments online has made it an ongoing trend and consumers are now more comfortable with this form of transaction. Many store owners provide the service of an e-wallet where loyal customers can score credit points. The secure payment gateways have improved the confidence of buyers in this mode of transaction.
Focus on Health and Wellness
The pandemic has made people come out of their comfort zones and become more vigilant about sanitisation and well-being. Most of them are now adjusting their lifestyle to introduce healthier eating and living. They are exercising, avoiding junk food, maintaining personal hygiene, and keeping their surroundings neat and clean. Thus, the demand for health supplements, immunity-boosting foods, yoga mats, gym wear, organic cleaning supplies, sanitisers, etc., has increased.
Many businesses have realised the importance of growing emphasis on wellness and hygiene and are stocking such products. They are highlighting the health benefits of their offerings and how their services are needed even during the pandemic to maintain optimum levels of sanitation.
Discounts and Offers Are Being Lapped Up
Kiwis spent $5.8 billion on online shopping in 2020, which is $1.2 billion higher than the figure of 2019. Most of the spending was done on domestic brands. The Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales fetched $585 million in November 2020. It is the highest growth for online shopping over the years. Buyers are still spending after thinking twice. However, discounts and sales assure them of getting a bargain deal, and they are leaving no stone unturned to grab the best products during this time.
Many businesses have leveraged this sentiment to announce clearance sales, drop prices and offer loyalty programs. It has helped small businesses to regain their sales and make profits post the pandemic.
Virtual Interactions for Consultations
Service-based businesses are now offering their expert advice and consultations online to the customers. The trend started during the lockdown when people needed service providers. Many financial advisors, accountants, medical practitioners, coaches, teachers, culinary experts, physical trainers started online classes and consultations to maintain social distancing and continue working.
Many people want to acquire new skills and achieve personal and professional goals since they are working remotely and have ample free time. Zoom, Skype, Facetime and other such applications are helping in connecting consultants and service providers with the consumers, and the trend is continuing.
If you have recently acquired a business for sale in New Zealand, you must make sure that you are aware of the changing consumer behaviour. The trends listed above will help you to meet their expectations in a perfect manner.