With everyone at home, with offices closed, and with no social engagements to attend, both the need and the opportunity for consumers to buy and use products altered significantly.
For all the optimism, the fact remains that the pandemic has fundamentally changed the consumer landscape—in some ways permanently. Digital adoption, particularly ecommerce, has been accelerated by years in the space of a few months and isn’t going away.
Our research found that consumers who previously only shopped infrequently online are four times more likely to purchase their makeup and personal care products online now compared to pre-pandemic. These new online shopping habits are highly unlikely to just go away overnight.
While the shift to ecommerce is accelerating substantially, consumers are also switching to omnichannel services like digital chat and virtual consultations. Our research found that one in five consumers moved online for virtual hair or beauty consultations during the pandemic, and almost half (46%) plan to continue to do so going forward.
The combined effect is that the home will continue to be a much more central part of the consumer experience than it was pre-pandemic. It’s also likely to be a more fluid experience, with consumer, social and work activities intertwined throughout the day.
Innovation is key to post-Covid CPG
Out of disaster and necessity comes opportunity. The pandemic has sparked a new wave of innovation, challenging consumer goods companies to fundamentally rethink ways of doing business that deliver growth, and use advanced analytical capabilities to spot, respond, and target changing consumption trends.
Successful consumer goods companies will be those who get creative, experimenting with new ways of engaging online, and launching marketing strategies that promote products and activities that will continue to appeal, even after the pandemic passes.
Hair brand Bleach London for instance, has successfully pivoted to a virtual solution with the launch of its Bleach Hair Party platform. Hair Party essentially acts as a digital salon with live conversations, as guest speakers help consumers buy and apply hair color correctly. This focus on informative and educational content was part of Bleach London’s strategy prior to the pandemic, too, which included how-to content on YouTube, as well as comprehensive step-by-step guides on its website.
And just look at how British beer company Brewdog responded with agility throughout the crisis. In the immediate wake of the pandemic, it shifted to produce hand sanitizer, created virtual bars, set up the Brewdog Drive-Thru, and repurposed physical locations to create Desk Dog, a co-working space where people can enjoy a beer at the end of a day’s work.
Collaboration is more important than ever
The ripple effects of the pandemic will be felt for some time and serve as a powerful illustration of the need for consumer goods companies to be agile, resilient, and responsive to change. Better collaboration between industry players will be an important part of recovery. Working together in more collaborative ecosystems – just as they proved they could during COVID-19 – will ensure they are well-positioned to drive post-pandemic growth.