Valassis Research Illuminates Shifts in Consumer Behavior During COVID-19

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Survey Identifies Appetite to Shop, Opportunities Based on Discovery and Desire to Save

Valassis, the leader in marketing technology and consumer engagement, shares new research examining consumer behavior amid the COVID-19 pandemic as states begin to lift restrictions and businesses begin to reopen. These insights provide a powerful understanding of how behavior is shifting, allowing brands to tailor marketing efforts in relevant, compelling ways, driven by current consumer demands.

Based on responses from 1,000 U.S. consumers, the research reveals consumers still have an appetite to shop – despite the global health crisis. In fact, 36% have made an impulse purchase based on an advertisement since the pandemic began, and 65% of consumers said they’ll make an unplanned purchase just to treat themselves in the next month.

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“Consumers have had to change the way they live and shop over the last few months, creating, for some, pent-up demand for novelty and discovery,” said Carrie Parker, vice president, marketing, Valassis. “While saving money is top of mind, we see that many consumers are looking to discover new products, using deals and offers as a purchase catalyst. Connecting the dots between shifting behavior, purchase motivations and preferred ways of engaging will enable marketers to use this consumer desire for novelty to make a real brand connection.”

Compared to a survey conducted in mid-March, more consumers believe new shopping behaviors will become a part of their routine in the future. In retail, 19% of consumers will use buy online, pick-up in-store options more often (versus 10% in March). When it comes to restaurant purchases, 29% believe they’ll choose to carry-out from restaurants more often (versus 20% in March). Additionally, 23% of consumers will use restaurant delivery more often moving forward (versus 18% in March). This number spikes to 36% among younger consumers (ages 25-34).

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Additional findings include:

  • Shifting behavior creates opportunity
    • 76% of consumers enjoy discovering new products based on deals they receive from brands.
    • 53% of consumers have tried a new grocery store, 52% have tried a new restaurant and 49% have tried a new retailer since the pandemic began.
    • Across all three categories, the biggest driver for trying a new establishment was an offer, discount or deal.
  • Consumers are tuned into deals
    • 46% are paying more attention to advertisements offering promotions and deals now compared to before the pandemic began, with 18- to 24-year-olds (52%) and 25- to 34-year-olds (50%) even more closely tuned in.
    • When asked what has influenced them to make a purchase since the pandemic began, 22% of consumers said social media – with 41% of 18-24-year-olds and 34% of 25- to 34-year-olds noting this.
    • Interestingly, digital online advertisements and offers received in the mail had about the same level of influence on purchases, at 22% and 23% respectively, reinforcing the need for an omnichannel approach.
  • Summer promotions create excitement
    • 65% of consumers are looking forward to shopping summer sales and promotions.
    • Consumers noted they plan to shop online (26%), in-store (19%) or both (20%) for summer sales and promotions.

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