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06/25/2021

Accenture: Consumers’ buying motivations in big shift; health, safety key

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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A majority of consumers — across demographics and geographies — are reimagining their values and basing purchasing decisions on factors beyond price and quality.

New research by Accenture Strategy and Accenture Interactive found that five distinct areas are increasingly driving consumers’ purchasing decisions. The five factors extend beyond price and quality to include health and safety; service and personal care; ease and convenience; product origin; and trust and reputation.  

Perhaps even more notable is that the five factors, which have been historically important to the specific demographic groups of Gen Z and Millennials, have now hit a tipping point and are considered critical across the full breadth of consumer demographics.

“Brands must now differentiate well beyond price and quality,” said Bill Theofilou, Accenture Strategy senior managing director who leads CEO and enterprise strategy for the company. “Market leaders must assure consumers that their purchasing experiences will be predictable and safe, with minimal risk of harming people or the environment. The five factors serve as the new baseline for capturing the post-pandemic consumer and will be critical for those who aspire to grow as the world emerges from the shifts accelerated in the past 18 months.”

Accenture’s 16th annual research report based on a survey of more than 25,000 consumers across 22 countries, entitled “Life Reimagined: Mapping the motivations that matter for today’s consumers,” set out to understand how companies can capitalize on evolving consumer expectations to achieve new levels of growth and competitive agility.

Additional key findings from the report are below.

Health and safety are paramount
•    Health and safety ranked high in importance for reimagined consumers, with 71% believing it is crucial that companies prioritize health considerations for consumers and employees in all operations.
•    Seventy-one percent of reimagined consumers believe that companies/brands are just as responsible as governments for the health of societies.
•    Two-thirds (68%) of reimagined consumers would switch travel brands if they felt health and safety were lacking.

Customer service and personal care are top of mind 
•    More than half of reimagined consumers say they would switch brands if a brand doesn’t create clear and easy options for contacting customer service or provide clear responses about service levels related to pandemic or economic/societal issues.
•    Moreover, 50% of reimagined consumers say that many companies disappointed them by not providing enough support and understanding of their needs during challenging times.

Ease and convenience must be table stakes 
•    A substantial 57% of reimagined consumers would switch retailers if they did not “offer new fast and flexible delivery options of goods such as click-and-collect and curbside pickup.”
•    In the healthcare industry, reimagined consumers appreciate the convenience of virtual health appointments as well, with 51% saying they would change providers if they did not offer online appointments instead of physical visits when appropriate.

Product origin is increasingly important 
•    Reimagined consumers want to know what goes into a product, how it’s produced and how far it’s been transported. Three-quarters (76%) say they are attracted to brands that source services and materials in highly ethical ways.
•    Additionally, 65% of reimagined consumers are attracted to doing business with brands that are environment-friendly.

Trust and reputation influence buying decisions 
•    Across a wide swath of industries, a majority of reimagined consumers said they would switch providers if they did not “take visible actions for a positive social impact — e.g., related to inclusion and diversity, environmental protection or protecting the health of the population.”

The full report is available at accenture.com/ConsumerResearch.