How Post-Pandemic Consumer Behavior Is Impacting Companies’ Success

I vividly remember someone saying to me, “I really do not think anyone is going to work out in a gym ever again.” Two weeks ago, Peloton’s stock plunged more than 35% in a day and last week, it fell another 11% likely because of the decrease a few days earlier (source: The Motley Fool). In contrast, Equinox’s stock increased last week (source: Market Watch). At-home fitness soared during the pandemic, but people are reverting to gym workouts.

While we all understand that consumer behavior has been changing rapidly – mainly due to the pandemic the last 2 years – the bottom line is that many of the behaviors that did transform are seemingly changing back to what they were pre-pandemic. While some brands may have benefitted from the pandemic, others are now experiencing the success they once did. As they say, “old habits die hard.”

Travel

As the U.S. recently eased international travel restrictions, airline stocks soared. CNN Business reported, “US airline shares take flight.” Moreover, the JETS ETF (holdings include Delta and American airlines) climbed 11% this month. Virgin Atlantic reported that flights were 98% full. In fact, by July 2021, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported that domestic air travel was back to pre-COVID levels. New trends arose such as U.S. travelers booking outdoor activities, visiting rural destinations, and reserving private vacation rentals (source: NPR). We will see if some of these pandemic-related trends are here to stay!

Meal Delivery

While grocery stores and big box retailers are still experiencing the effects of the supply chain, meal delivery services such as Door Dash, Grub Hub, Postmates, Uber Eats, and meal prep services are up. In fact, sales for meal delivery services grew 17% YOY (source: Bloomberg Second Measure). With consumers traveling more and working in different locations (gasp…at the office?!), it is expected that meal delivery services will continue to experience an uptick due to people being “on the go.”

Video Conferencing Tools

Beginning in July, daily average users for Zoom were down by about a third from the year prior, to 44.3M from 49.3M. Since then, Zoom app downloads also decreased (source: Barrons). During this time, 74% of businesses reported that they were bringing employees back to the office (source: Inc). While the power of video conferencing has been incredible (and useful!), it cannot replace in-person meetings and get togethers entirely. More than 8 in 10 executives prefer in-person meetings, specifically sharing that they create the right environment for timely decisions, difficult discussions, and stimulate more strategic thinking. In fact, research shows that face-to-face meetings are 34x more effective than email conversations – and 35% of the discrepancy in a team’s performance directly correlates to the number of times that the individuals spoke in-person (source: Washington Post). 

Apparel & Accessories

The pandemic created an athleisure boom. While the business casual and athleisure segments were climbing in popularity pre-pandemic, it is obvious that the pandemic created an acceleration. In 2020, the athleisure market yielded about $105B in sales (source: CNBC). Post-pandemic, we are seeing marketing efforts tailored to comfortable workwear and items that can transition from working remotely to the office, and back. Transitional items such as stretchy work pants and unique sneakers are more popular than ever. For example, Athleta now has a “Travel and Commute” section while J.Crew’s new holiday section features cashmere and velvet sets to dress up or down, and Bonobos includes “E-Waist Pants and Joggers” on their website. Brands continue to tailor not only their products but marketing efforts towards new consumer behaviors. 

As Bob Dylan and The Band sang: “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” Not only do we understand the marketplace, but we know your customers. From shopper marketing, data & analytics, creative services, to direct mail and insert media, we have the expertise to tailor your marketing strategy to these changing times. 

Stay Connected

More Updates

Bring It On, 2020-Too

Building Blocks: 2021 Holiday Season Learnings

Best Practices for Creating SEO-Friendly FAQ Pages