UK consumer behaviour is being reshaped by the current COVID crisis, with 27% of people saying they’ll do more activities digitally long-term. Yet, despite the opportunity for brands to increase digital revenues, 59% of consumers are not happy with the level of personalization and reassurance delivered online by most companies, according to a new consumer study.
The research, commissioned by AI-powered personalization platform Kameleoon and leading experimentation agency Conversion.com, found that nearly three-quarters (73%) of the 1,000 consumers surveyed said the current digital experience would change who they bought from, and their future spending. Those brands that do provide a personalized experience now will benefit long-term – 50% said they’d spend less (or switch completely) from brands that hadn’t delivered during the crisis.
Time currently spent online across a range of activities has grown by 32%, led by watching/listening to streaming entertainment (a 51% increase) and reading the media (46% more). The crisis is changing other activities – 17% said they’d increased the time spent accessing medical consultations online and 31% were learning new skills through digital courses.
However, many brands are not meeting their needs – 76% of respondents said that not all companies were making the effort to customize the online experience. That’s despite the fact that 73% expect online personalization as standard and 83% want to receive personalized emails from brands.
“What is clear is that the current crisis will lead to long-term change in consumer behaviour, and that brands need to react now if they want to safeguard their future revenues,” said Jean-Rene Boidron, CEO, Kameleoon. “Half of UK consumers will switch from brands that don’t deliver the personalized experience that they want – yet 76% say that brands are failing them. This needs to be a wake-up call for brands to focus on experimentation and customizing the experience for each and every consumer if they want to retain their business in the future.”
Consumers identified the top benefits of digital as saving money (ranked first by 31% of respondents), ahead of having greater choice (23%). They are willing to exchange these benefits for sharing their data – 43% listed being tracked by brands as the least important factor when embracing digital.
“COVID-19 has accelerated digital adoption. That means late adopters are coming to market for retail and grocery shopping. But it also means a larger number of customers are engaging with digital products and services for the first time, like medical consultations and elearning,” commented Stephen Pavlovich, CEO, Conversion.com. “That’s a huge opportunity for brands that adapt quickly – those with the leading edge will benefit most. But as their audience profile changes, brands need to invest in upfront research to better understand their new customers’ needs.”
The research is part of a global study carried out in April 2020 that evaluated the impact of COVID on the digital behaviour of 5,128 consumers from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy. While each country has had a different experience of lockdowns, a third of global consumers were doing more online now, and 24% saying it would lead them to use digital more in the future. Key differences between countries included:
- 24% of French consumers said they didn’t see any brands making an effort to personalize the experience, against 11% in the US
- 52% of US consumers wanted websites to adapt automatically to meet their needs, against 22% of Germans
- 43% of Italians are doing more online, compared to a study average of 32%
- Just 9% of Italians said they’d switch back to just using offline channels – in contrast to 19% of Germans