Many consumers trust COVID-19 vaccines, and this could lead to a return to in-store shopping. But brands should continue developing their digital skills, including email marketing, judging by a new global study by IBM’s Institute for Business Value.
"Habits formed during the COVID-19 pandemic have raised consumers' expectations of digital engagement, especially in service industries like retail, travel & transportation," states Jesus Mantas, senior managing partner, IBM Global Business Services.
In retail, consumers do not anticipate giving up the online shopping habits they have developed -- at least 20% plan to continue shopping online. But those who are vaccinated plan to buy in-store more often.
The categories that are seeing the biggest returns to in-store shopping include toys, games, and hobbies (+121%) and apparel, footwear and accessories. (+76%).
Of the consumers polled, over half expect the COVID-19 vaccine to protect them, and most will feel comfortable returning to normal when there is a 70% vaccination rate.
In a sign of partial recovery for the travel industry, 30% of consumers plan to fly more often. And roughly 1.5 times more vaccinated consumers surveyed expect to take an overnight trip in the next six months.However, 23% expect to fly less. And 25% do not plan to travel at all this year.
Moving forward, businesses should "accelerate their digital evolution with AI and Cloud based solutions to help remain competitive,” Mantas adds. “Investing in hybrid physical and digital experiences can help provide a more personalized experience."
The IBM Institute for Business Values surveyed more than 15,000 consumers in the Unites States, India, the UK, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Brazil and China in February 2021.