Consumer behavior is a vital source of information. It’s been studied for decades by psychologists. Fun fact – female shoppers are more likely to enter a store to the left (where brands display their most expensive inventory). It’s a subtle, but powerful insight that transitions over time based on societal changes such as trends, economics and environment. When it comes to a global pandemic, you can bet that consumer behavior will change. By this time of year, in-store shopping would have begun accumulating as the holiday season is approaching. However, with the occurring pandemic, online shopping has become the more popular route by a landslide.
It’s been reported by CNBC that for the first time ever, the total market share of sales done with “non-store” retailers, or online, was higher than general merchandise, including department stores sales. [Source] There’s no doubt increased online shopping is due in part to more people staying home in hopes of flattening the curve. However, it can be safely assumed that influencer marketing has driven this trend as well – a constant stream of trending sweaters, home ‘necessities’ and DIY seductively flowing through the discovery pages of Instagram and Pinterest.
As the pandemic has taken tolls on marketing budgets, brands look towards more innovative ways to advertise their products. With less budget, celebrity endorsements transition to influencer partnerships. Yet, this is not the worst scenario. Influencer marketing is generally thought to be used for brand awareness as opposed to conversion, but with the help of an influencers relatability, the consumer is more likely to buy into what they’re promoting. Influencers can also provide brands with quick, less-expensive and easy-to-produce creative during a time when large-scale ad production may be difficult. [Source]
With that in mind, you can reflect on your own transactions made throughout this past year. Was most of your shopping done in-store or online? If online, was the purchase made out of convenience or impacted by the virus? Has your online shopping increased as a result of more time spent browsing Instagram or other digital platforms that advertise through Influencer Marketing? Consumer behavior is ever-evolving, but the observation of its status during a pandemic can bring new insights to consumer behavior and provide key learnings with regards to Influencer marketing for what’s to come.