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CACI identifies new long-term consumer trends due to the lockdown

Tom Bottomley
06 May 2020

New research from marketing technology and location planning specialist, CACI, has identified key trends emerging which reveal how consumer behaviour is likely to change as the government prepares to announce its recovery roadmap.

The report says “consumers have jumped forward five years in two weeks, creating a turning point likely to change consumer behaviour forever,” as the lockdown continues.

New habits formed over the last two months look likely to become part of the ‘consumer psyche’ says the report, leading to new trends that will impact how people live their lives, with implications for landlords and operators in all sectors.

In terms of online sales, the findings suggest that older shoppers have bridged the digital divide as the lockdown has forced many reluctant groups to engage in online behaviour that they had previously resisted. Prior to the pandemic, Millennials and Gen Z consumers saw far more multi-channel engagement, but now multi-channel shopping is embedded in all groups.

Older shoppers are also likely to continue social distancing post-lockdown, and are likely to increase their online spend, particularly with brands they know and trust already.

CACI says that the change in work practises, with 35% of workers - particularly the more affluent aged between 35-54 - expected to increase the amount they work from home, will have big implications on the role of city centres, and also a resurgence of local high streets and suburbs, particularly in London and the south east. More people present in the day means greater opportunity for community operators.

What stores look like will also be a key factor, with over 75% of people choosing their brands and places on how safe they feel. The use of cash will be largely dead, as consumers and retailers seek to minimise contact.

Alex McCulloch, director of CACI Location Planning Group, said: “As the lockdown lifts we will find ourselves in a new world, where consumers expect brands to put value and safety first, where stores become both more local, and more alike to showrooms, and ultimately where the physical location of the transaction becomes less relevant.

“This is a world where people will be more engaged with the local high street and community, but also a more polarised one between young people living in urban environments and seeking to re-engage, and older shoppers who are more fearful of the future and seeking safety and reassurance.”

Other findings say ‘people will value family and community’ more, and ‘value and sustainability will dominate’, with one quarter of shoppers expecting their personal finances to suffer as a result of the pandemic.

CACI undertook a UK representative survey of 1,000 adults across April 30 and May 1, 2020, using their research partner ResearchBods. The post-lockdown survey research is the latest in a series of industry insights published by CACI, as it works with landlords, retailers and leisure operators to help them better understand changing consumer behaviour.

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