Rethinking the future of shopping

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The behavior displayed by buyers has changed rapidly over the past three years. Three years ago, global consumer behavior evolved to live by micro-moments.

Consumers have already expressed their desire to know more about a product or service before purchasing it. PwC’s 2018 Global Consumers Insights Survey identified some of these evolving behaviors and how increasing smartphone and internet use has shaped these models.

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The pandemic has rapidly altered consumer behavior over the past two years. Most countries have placed door-to-door orders for a significant period of 2020, resulting in reduced retail store operations. At the same time, online shopping for goods and services has increased dramatically.

To understand this rapidly changing consumer behavior, PwC conducted several pulse surveys in 2021 and learned from them.

The survey conducted between July and December 2021 revealed some of the most recent behavioral changes as well as optimism among buyers despite headwinds in many economies and fears of the emergence of another variant of the virus. The survey covered 9,370 people in 26 countries.

The increase in the number of people vaccinated has dramatically improved optimism. Among those surveyed, 66% of partially or fully vaccinated individuals as well as 43% of unvaccinated individuals expressed optimism for the future.

The flexible working option has also boosted consumer optimism. They now prefer a hybrid working model over working only at home or in offices / locations. This optimism about the future is also linked to the willingness of consumers to spend more in the coming months.

Another notable development is the historic increase in the use of smartphones for shopping.

According to the PwC survey, 41% of respondents said they shop daily or weekly using their mobiles or smartphones, up from 39% six months ago and 12% five years ago. This is an upward trend over the past five years and is expected to continue, particularly fueled by the proliferation of smartphones and data connectivity in emerging countries like Bangladesh, India, Vietnam and others.

For example, 53 percent of respondents in India said they shop daily or weekly using their cell phones or smartphones. The number rose to 69% for those surveyed in Vietnam.

The number of people resuming their visits to physical stores is gradually increasing. The closures and fear of infection have dramatically reduced physical visits to stores. According to the PwC survey, 47% of respondents said they visit physical stores every week.

Earlier, affluent shoppers who lacked the time to physically visit stores began using cell phones and online channels to shop. Online shopping has gradually found favor with more people as it has saved time and increased convenience.

The pandemic has forced a significant portion of shoppers from all demographics to opt for online shopping. At the same time, stay-at-home restrictions and work-from-home options have allowed cash-rich consumers to become time-rich as well. This resulted in their desire to know more about the products and services they are buying today.

What started out as a micro-moment allowing consumers to learn more about a product or service before buying / enjoying it has now spread to many of these micro-moments, as they spend a lot of time. time to learn more about products and services. In addition, consumers increasingly prefer to purchase sustainable products and services.

Their concerns about the environmental, social and governance aspects of production processes are growing and manufacturers and retailers need to take this trend more seriously. Consumers, especially white-collar workers and well-off workers, increasingly prefer to describe themselves as environmentally friendly.

Such a change in consumer behavior is going to have a dual effect on businesses in Bangladesh. Retailers, especially online ones, need to start sharing information more transparently with their consumers. Modernizing their existing technology infrastructure will allow retailers to efficiently collect data from multiple sources, including origins of production, and meaningfully disseminate this data to consumers as and when they request it.

Many buying decisions will be influenced by this transformation and will depend on the success of retailers in adopting modern technologies to meet this need.

Second, a sector such as clothing manufacturing, which is one of the country’s main export sectors, needs to review and reconfigure its production process to meet the preferences of foreign consumers. Such a sector will also need to adopt technology and innovate sustainable processes to ensure that it adopts sustainable manufacturing.

The behavior of buyers will change rapidly around the world in the future. Retailers need to rethink and reconfigure their business and operational strategy to meet this requirement with speed and agility.

The writer is a partner at PwC. Opinions are personal.


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