Managing a brand throughout the pandemic while ensuring the business is well positioned to meet new consumer expectations in this new world is complicated. Purchasing habits have changed over the last year and businesses must anticipate certain consumer behaviors remaining post-pandemic.
On June 24, Vogue Business marketing editor Kati Chitrakorn, Klarna CMO David Sandström and Mr Porter global marketing director Sabah Naqushbandi discussed the biggest consumer trends to emerge in 2021 and how shopping preferences have changed globally, in many cases for the long term.
Below are 3 takeaways brands should keep in mind as they navigate the next normal.
1. Consumers choose quality over quantity.
The pandemic has not only accelerated a shift to online shopping, it has led to new consumer priorities. Mr Porter was ready to capitalize on the increased demand it has seen across e-commerce channels, though was surprised to find accelerated growth in their luxury watches, a sector historically slow with e-commerce adoption. Consumer data from Klarna also revealed a surge in luxury as jewelry transactions skyrocketed during the pandemic towards the end of April 2020. With higher demand in quality, timeless investment pieces continuing post-pandemic, customers are now seeking greater value for their money and are ready to treat themselves. People are excited to get dressed again and so luxury’s surging as consumers invest in high-quality goods for their new looks.
2. Sustainability matters to shoppers.
Throughout the pandemic, consumers have reflected on what matters most to them: 70% of US consumers say they shop more sustainably now, compared to pre-pandemic, a recent survey conducted by Klarna found. And brands are now responding to the great responsibility they have towards their community, industry, and planet. For example, to celebrate sustainability and artisanry, Mr Porter announced its “Craftsmanship Code,” championing small brands making big impacts in their communities. This is something customers want to invest in and will add more value to the brand over time. As retailers refocus their efforts to meet customer values, prioritizing sustainability and inclusivity will not just be important, it will be expected.
3. Personalization powers content.
Where should brands be investing to deliver on the retail and marketing experience consumers want? Personalisation, localisation and community are the key focus areas for Mr Porter. Data insights power what the brand does and helps to understand and connect with their customers more deeply, but keeping a human element and customer-first approach is always the highest priority.
Retailers had to shift their businesses from offline to online overnight, at the same time consumers turned to online shopping and invested in newly popular categories like athleisure and wellness. With more time to reflect, shoppers became more purpose-driven and invested in higher-quality products. With sustainability and mission-driven values top of mind, trust and safety will be two important factors brands must consider for the future, as well as creating a human-first approach in their efforts through personalization and powerful storytelling.