Survey: Consumers to be more conservative in spending; focus on online ops 

Marianne Wilson
shopper looking at cloud shopping cart logo

Not all consumers are planning to make up for lost time shopping-wise as stores reopen.

Thirty-eight percent of consumers said they will be more conservative in their spending as it relates to shopping in the future once respective state and national business restrictions lift, according to a survey from digital commerce provider Scalefast. And 29% report they will spend less during the holidays.

In the report, “Rebuilding Retail,” consumers also said that moving forward,  due to COVID-19 they are more likely to order online and pickup curbside (35%), utilize a third-party delivery service (24%), and set up and use contactless payment (22%). 

“Retailers investing in technology should be focusing here, as opposed to chatbots, text-to-order and other technologies that seemed to be less sticky with the consumer moving forward post-COVID-19,” the report said. 

Nearly a quarter (24%) of consumers said that their shopping habits will have changed permanently in some way due to COVID-19.  Consumers said that compared to their pre-COVID shopping habits:

  • Twenty-nine percent agree that they will be anxious about not being able to find the items they need/want;
  • Twenty-eight percent will be less likely to try out items in-store;
  • Twenty percent are worried their favorite brands will go out of business; 
  • Seventeen percent are expecting more insight into how retailers operate; and, 
  • Seventeen percent say they will only be purchasing from retailers with clear procedures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, both online and in-store for holiday shopping.

Consumers also said that their expectations have changed since prior to COVID, with: 

  • Forty-five percent planning to be more patient of longer delivery windows (15% of consumers are also planning to start their holiday 2020 shopping earlier this year);
  • Forty-one percent expecting longer customer service wait times;
  • Twenty-seven percent planning to be more conscious of shipping costs;
  • Twenty-two percent planning to be more conscious of product costs over their specific brand/product; and,
  • Twenty-two percent expecting more flexible return policies.

“Retail isn’t going back to normal following the COVID-19 crisis, but it can rebuild and be ready to respond to the changing expectations consumers have for their shopping experiences,” said Olivier Schott, founder and CMO of Scalefast. “Consumers are looking for clear communication, and their expectations for the basics – like shipping and loyalty – have changed. They aren’t looking for fancy new technology so much as the confidence that their concerns are being addressed, many of which necessitate a more robust e-commerce push than ever before.”

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