Shopping Returned To Pre-Pandemic Levels In May

U.S. consumers are ready to make up for shopping time lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. Data released this week from several companies shows a rebound in May 2021 compared with pre-pandemic levels.

Consumers still buy online, but data released from Criteo this week shows that in the U.S., brick-and-mortar store sales returned to pre-pandemic levels -- and that U.S. in-store sales transactions increased 8% in May compared with February 2020.

Some 79% of U.S. consumers in a survey conducted by Yotpo also conducted in May cite they plan to shop more in the coming months. This study also looked at how consumers plan to shop and the type of relationships they prefer to have with their favorite brands.

The survey results from Yotpo -- a company that helps brands collect user-generated content for marketing purposes -- found that 53% of shoppers plan to do a mix of in-store and online shopping this year. Following new habits forged during the pandemic, only 10% of consumers plan to primarily shop at physical stores, while 37% say they plan to shop mostly online. About 53% plan to do a mix of in-store and online shopping. 



With 90% of shoppers planning to make purchases online, here’s how they will do it. About half will browse and shop using their mobile phones, and 47% will use their desktop or laptops.

Another key behavior that has changed since last year is consumers' preference for SMS or text messaging to interact with brands, Yotpo’s data shows.

Technology makes it easier for consumers to communicate with brands and their sales staff. Since June 2020, the number of shoppers who have signed up to receive text messages from brands increased 27%, with 75% now having signed up to receive text messages.

The number of shoppers who want the ability to text back and forth with their favorite brands to ask questions rose 31%, with more than eight in 10 shoppers wanting this level of access.

The number of shoppers open to receiving coupons, discounts and promotional offers from brands via text rose 31%, with 85% willing to receive the deals on their phones.

Among shoppers who decide to opt-in to receive text messages from a brand, 69% say they want news of sales and exclusive offers, while 58% want updates about their order status, and 42% want new product announcements.

Email also remains a major part of the equation, with 50% of shoppers saying they prefer brands to use a hybrid approach with communication, opting for both email and text messaging.

When it comes to time-sensitive promotions, 45% of shoppers say email is their preferred way to be contacted by a brand, followed by 35% cite text messages, and 16% cite social media.

Buying direct from brands — online or in stores — continues to increase. Some 60% of shoppers want to see brands offer non-subscription-based product bundles or kits for purchase, followed by co-branded special events. About 47% cited new product reveals or celebrity guest panels, and 49% cited co-branded subscription boxes.

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