Consumer trends have changed rapidly in the last two years. With the COVID-19 pandemic reshaping how we work, shop, dine, and communicate, businesses across virtually every industry have had to rethink their strategies from the ground up.

Brands must develop strategies that respond to these changes in consumer behaviour if they want to survive, let alone maintain their base. Here, we explore the latest consumer trends and dive into the transformation that needs to take place if your organisation wants to keep up.

How Customers Have Changed

Customer behaviour was already changing before the pandemic, but these past 2 years have seen changes go into overdrive, and countless businesses have struggled to adapt to the transformation and the new resultant landscape.

1. Permanent Digital Adoption

With businesses closed for extended periods of time, the rate of digital adoption has only accelerated as people have grown accustomed to spending more time at home. This means people have also turned to online shopping in the droves, and consumers expect a seamless e-commerce experience. According to a Visa study, 31% of Singaporeans made their first online purchase ever during the pandemic.

2. Social Impact

COVID-19 has given many the opportunity to re-evaluate their lives, including the effect of their purchasing decisions. Rather than spending money on overseas brands or ethically dodgy companies, people are increasingly seeking out local and purpose-driven businesses that contribute to society.

3. Trust and Convenience

The heightened stress from the pandemic has seen consumer behaviour move towards brands that people feel they can trust. For instance, customers seek out businesses that clearly communicate their health and safety policies. Consumers also prefer brands that showcase an empathetic mindset through customer service and community-oriented marketing.

4. Needs Rather than Wants

Businesses undergoing corporate digital transformation must recognise that many consumers are focused on their needs rather than wants. With many faced with uncertain job prospects and potential wage losses, more are now spending their salary on groceries, in-home entertainment, and DIY projects instead of vanity purchases.

Changing Tides for Business Owners

To keep sales growing, business owners have to respond to consumer trends or they'll get left behind. Consider these tips for business.

1. Prove Your Value

Consumers have vastly different expectations of the brands they shop at compared to the pre-pandemic world. This shift means businesses should promote values through informed communication and inspiring ideas, highlighting how products improve their customers' lives and society.

2. Reimagine the Brand Experience

You can’t remain stuck in the old ways if you want your business to succeed in the pandemic and beyond. Reimagine how customers engage with your brand by making sure you have a user-friendly website, and invest in providing a memorable customer service experience. That way, you can develop a brand experience that customers will recall long into the future.

3. SME Digitisation Matters

As businesses experience more competition online, adopting the latest technology is the best way to seize growth opportunities. M1 helps SMEs enhance productivity through digital solutions and services like the Start Digital Pack. Aiding in corporate digital transformation, this package includes Start Digital solutions for accounting, payroll, digital marketing, cybersecurity services, and more, helping you respond to changing consumer behaviour effectively. Find out if you’re eligible for Start Digital and register your interest for these digital solutions for SMEs from M1.