Data Reveals Behavioral Impact Of Brand-Consumer Relationships During COVID-19 Crisis

Brands need to rethink how to stay connected and appeal to consumers during the next couple of months as Americans find a new normal and more shop online. 

The 11,434% uptick in COVID-19-related searches since the beginning of January identifies concerns and consumer interests, so companies have begun pulling data to help marketers understand the global impact from this virus on the very delicate brand-consumer relationship.

With news announcements driving surges in search, Captify’s analysts looked at more than 100.6 million global COVID-19-related global searches from data collected between Jan. 1, 2020 and March 15, 2020 on a variety of different sites such as online publishers. The findings from the data across its publisher network reveals how this pandemic continues to impact consumer behavior and how businesses can navigate through uncertain times.

Consumer behavioral patterns differ greatly, as well as the brands they connect with during this crisis. Millennials, for example, are most attracted to the streaming category, with searches for Netflix, Roku, and HBO ranking highest.



Gen Z consumers search for Nintendo, Xbox, and PlayStation in the gaming category. Commuters search for home delivery services with Amazon, UPS and Domino’s topping the list. Business people search in the exercise and wellness categories for Glo, Sweat, and Calm. And despite the U.S. government asking Americans to stay put, city dwellers search for travel-related companies, with Avis, Kayak and Expedia topping the list.

No doubt consumers are stocking up. A manager at a Kroger-owned Ralph’s grocery store in Huntington Beach, California told Search Insider that revenue has tripled in the past two weeks. Captify has seen a 300% increase in searches around “bulk buying” and “multi-packs.” Sales of Purell rose 1,866.7%; Lysol, 425%; M&M’s, 400%; Clorox, 228.5%; Bacardi, 102.6%; Tampax, 66.7%; Cheerios, 56.9%; and Purina, 41.9%.

Captify also saw a 266% search increase in “Homemade & DIY Sanitizers” between March 1, and March 10. Searches for disinfectant spray rose 747.6%, while searches for disinfectant wipes rose 595.2%, and toilet paper, 583%.

CivicScience, which looked at consumer sentiment and behavior shopping data, excluding grocery stores or pharmacies, shows a slight increase in people who say they have done all or almost all their buying online, from 8% beginning Feb. 16 to 11% the week of March 8. Those 18 years of age or older who participated in the survey who said they do all or almost all of their buying in stores fell from 24% to 16%, respectively.

Brands like Eddie Bauer have changed their marketing strategies to appeal to consumers working from home. “Working From Home? 50% Off These Comfy Must-Haves” the subject line in the email campaign reads.

Mary Acklin, marketing manager at CivicScience, also analyzed intent data from online grocery shopping, “which has almost doubled in some categories.” Some 29% said they are shopping online for groceries more often -- up from 22% during the prior week, according to CivicScience data.

Some specialty stores like Omaha Steaks are struggling to meet demand. A store clerk in Huntington Beach, California told Search Insider the company pushed shipments by two weeks.

Local and state governments, specifically in California, began limiting the number of people allowed in restaurants simultaneously and then began to eliminate in-restaurant dining, but before the mandates, dining out and/or ordering takeout for dinner began trending down March 1.

CivicScience data shows more than 60% of Americans report they are dining out less as of this week.

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