Study: Only 32 Percent of Businesses Have Made Operational Adjustments to Meet New Consumer Demands

COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the priorities of consumers as well as businesses, but their priorities are not the same. Experian’s Global Insights Report says that consumers are engaging with businesses online more than ever before. The study found there has been a 20 percent increase overall in consumer online transaction activities, including a 41 percent increase in online grocery shopping, a 40 percent increase in applying for loans online, and a 22 percent increase for both ordering food online for delivery or for takeout.

The study also found that nearly half of the consumers globally expect an increase in their online spend in the next 12 months and 41 percent of customers would give an organization more business if they felt they were treated fairly during the pandemic.

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Leveraging Technology to Meet Changing Consumer Demands

“COVID-19 has brought consumers and businesses together online in ways we’ve never seen before, a trend that will most likely continue as economies recover,” said Steve Wagner, global managing director of Decision Analytics for Experian. “This requires sustainable business operations that support meaningful connections with consumers – more than ensuring physical health and safety measures, but also safe, accessible, and convenient digital experiences especially at a time like now when they need it most.”

Only 32 percent of businesses have made operational adjustments to meet new consumer demands to date but are planning to make strategic adjustments to give consumers greater access to goods and services and manage customer relationships. Businesses play a critical role in helping consumers and getting economies back on track. Now more than ever the integration of data, analytics and technology can enable businesses to quickly adapt decisioning strategies to minimize risk, preserve valuable relationships, and remain fair and compliant. From consumers needing short-term support like payment holidays to those facing longer-term challenges like unemployment, businesses are accelerating their digital transformation initiatives to address individual customer needs safely, conveniently, and at scale.

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The Economic Impact of COVID-19

The study found that 53 percent of businesses surveyed believe their operational processes have mostly or completely recovered since COVID-19 began. However, consumers aren’t feeling as confident in the economy, as one-third of consumers globally have reported a decline in household income and those having difficulty paying their bills have doubled since the start of the pandemic. The report also found that consumers, regardless of income, have responded to the economic downturn in three ways, reducing discretionary spending, building an emergency savings account, and tapping into financial reserves. 65 percent of consumers surveyed believe their country has not yet recovered from the economic impact of the pandemic.

To develop the study, Experian interviewed 3,000 consumers and 900 businesses across 10 countries around the world including Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Japan, Singapore, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States on insights related to consumer and business economic outlooks, financial well-being, online behavior and more. Additional findings from the report include:

  • 53 percent of businesses believe their operational processes have mostly or completely recovered since Covid-19 began. The U.S. (82 percent) is the most confident and Germany (27 percent) is the least.
  • 1 in 5 businesses globally lack confidence in the effectiveness of their credit risk and collection decisions since t Covid-19 began.
  • 60 percent of businesses plan to increase budget for analytics and credit risk management. Businesses in the UK, U.S., Australia, and Spain have already increased adoption of AI and advanced analytics.

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