The COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt affected every country around the world in ways no one could have ever imagined. It shows the extent and importance we put on globalisation and being connected to other places around the world, especially as isolated as we are in Australia. But that’s all be put on hold and consumer behaviour has changed because of it. They say it takes 28 days to turn action into a habit and now that we have been living with restrictions for about six months, these habits are here to stay.
But change is not bad. Change is good; it keeps us on our toes. And so, we’re flipping our mindset and taking a look at how Australian consumer behaviour has changed and what opportunities are emerging from it.
Consumers are supporting local businesses
Restrictions on free movement around the country began to impact the supply of products most Australian took for granted. In addition, the closure of many Australian businesses due to social and economic impact of the pandemic was felt very personally on a local level. With ‘mateship’ at the core of our cultural DNA, Australians have turned to support local and ‘Australian Made’. It is the feeling of “we’re all in this together” that has compelled consumers to actively switch their spending to prioritise buying from local businesses. This is an opportunity for like no other. Your locals want to support you, they want to buy your products and use your services. They are even willing to pay more than what they usually would, knowing they are helping another family put dinner on the table.
Everyone is online, a whole lot more
People have not been able to connect with others physically, but that hasn’t stopped anyone. The internet and social media have been intrinsic to human connection over the past six months. Previously, social media and digital technologies were seen as a distraction, however now, they are far more significant as they offer modes for human connection, channels for consumer experiences, entertainment, brand awareness and voice, customer conversions and information and news. This newfound dependence on the internet and social media is an opportunity. You know where your consumers are and with a bit of research, you’ll know what they like. You can create content to get their attention and inspire them from, literally, the palm of their hand. And what’s better, is that they can purchase from you right then and there. Make sure you’ve got your online shop up and going! While pretty much all categories of spending has seen a declined, online shopping has actually had a boost.
People are actively looking for new hobbies
Australians have hit the pause button on their normal lives. No more commuting, no more sport, no more gym sessions or dance lessons. No more weekend trips away (or even planning holidays, for a fact). This has given people time to get back to basics. There was a surge in the demand for baking ingredients, people have loved local bars’ cocktail kits, veggie garden sets and seedlings sold out and everyone has bought a puzzle. How can you adapt your product or service in a way that consumers can engage with from their home or within their local surrounds? If you are a yoga studio, start online class subscriptions. This can run adjacent to classes held in-person. All you need is a device with Zoom set up and you are good to go. What an awesome way to extend the accessibility of your studio space and gain new members. If you sell a product, maybe think about how you can turn that into more of an experience for the consumer. For example, the make-at-home cookie kits from local bakeries and cake shops have been a hit, especially with kids and families. Now is the time to adapt, so go for it!
With all this negative, it’s hard to keep your head above water. But sometimes the best thing you can do is flip your mindset to see the glass half-full. Change is always a good, it’s challenging, but it’s good.