Integral Ad Science (Nasdaq: IAS) released new research today, Pandemic Effects: What’s Next in Shifting Consumer Priorities, that examines how consumer behavior and spending habits will change as COVID-19 restrictions ease. It also provides insights for marketers on how they can best engage consumers through digital channels.
“Our latest research offers an essential look into the current state of consumer behavior as the state of COVID-19 protocols evolve,” said Tony Marlow, CMO, IAS. “The pandemic transformed many shopping and social habits to their core. Consumers will maintain some new behaviors adopted during quarantine, while returning to other pre-pandemic activities, especially around physical shopping. Digital marketers should take these major shifts into consideration when designing their future campaigns in order to make every impression count.”
As consumers reassess their social activities and where they spend their money post-pandemic, IAS’s research indicates the following:
New Consumer Shopping & Dining Habits Place Convenience Front and Center
The research shows consumers prioritized convenience above all else during the height of the pandemic by shifting to more online shopping (59%), dining and cooking at home (53%), and using delivery and pick-up services (46%). Additionally, 83% of respondents indicated they will continue at least one of these activities once restrictions are lifted to maintain the convenience.
The Return of Social Activities: Americans Ready to Head Back to Restaurants & More
IAS found that consumers are looking forward to getting out after a year of lockdown protocols, with 65 percent of respondents naming dining out at restaurants as the number one social activity that they’re looking forward to resuming. Additionally, consumers ranked vacation/seeing friends (61%), traveling (55%), and going to the movies (43%) as top priorities. 78% of consumers report feeling extremely or very comfortable engaging in social activities now that restrictions are easing.
Consumers Do Their Homework to Shop Smart Online & Support Small Businesses
Despite the readiness to resume in-person activities, consumers report they will maintain researching products online before purchasing, with 89 percent of consumers reporting their spending will increase or remain the same in the next year. Most Americans (75%) indicated they will stick with shopping at local and small businesses that may have struggled during the pandemic. However, 51% of U.S. consumers will now be splitting their time between online channels and physical stores, meaning brands need to align their online and offline strategies.
Brand Safety & Suitability Is a Must for Marketers Post-Pandemic
Brands can adapt to consumer preferences to make their digital ads even more effective as they engage key audiences post-pandemic. On average, 57% of U.S. consumers say they prefer to see advertising on safe, reputable sites or alongside relevant content.
This new research from IAS surveyed 991 U.S. consumers to understand how consumer behavior has changed in the past year and what behaviors will continue to evolve in 2022.