Recent retail surveys and studies, including Accenture’s forecasting a “Decade of the Home” as the discomfort of public spaces and travel, coupled with financial fear amid the widespread decline in household income, continues to keep consumers sheltering at home. Other surveys explore back-to-school spending expectations, personal data tradeoffs and the importance of employer values for job seekers.

Accenture Sees COVID-19 Ushering In “Decade of the Home”
A study from Accenture finds consumers refocusing their priorities on their communities, in light of COVID-19, as a long-term trend creating a “Decade of the Home” and necessitating that retailers and consumer goods companies tailor their products and services to support a local experience.

Among other key findings:

  • 69 percent of respondents expect to socialize over the next 6 months either in their home, a friend’s home or virtually;
  • 53 percent of respondents who never worked from home pre-COVID-19 now plan to work from home more often in the future;
  • 56 percent of respondents said that COVID-19 caused them to shop in neighborhood stores, with 79 percent of those respondents saying they plan to continue to do so long-term;
  • 56 percent of consumers said they are buying more locally-sourced products, with 84 percent planning to continue to do so long-term;
  • 50 percent of respondents cited financial security as one of their 3 top concerns over the next 6 months;
  • 54 percent said they shop more cost-consciously and are likely to continue to do so by purchasing with mid-range and budget brands rather than with premium brands;
  • At the same time, 12 percent of respondents said they increased their purchases with premium brands, with 57  percent of those respondents falling outside the high-income bracket.

“Home is now the new frontier — it’s become the workplace, the schoolroom, the place to try new hobbies, the place to socialize and a safe sanctuary — so companies must account for this reality,” said Oliver Wright, managing director and head of Accenture’s Global Consumer Goods practice. “They’ll need to think beyond traditional tactics and be more creative, providing premium or virtual experiences and tailoring their portfolios to engage consumers. We’re already seeing this in the beverage and spirits industry, with Carlsberg launching its ‘adopt a keg’ campaign, and one London brewery offering a ‘pub in a box’ to local customers, hand-delivered by musicians who’ve had their tours canceled.”

Survey Shows Consumers Willing To Trade Personal Data For Financial Benefits
A Genesys-sponsored survey finds that despite recent consumer protection regulations, 91 percent of survey respondents worry about the potential abuse of their personal data, with 46 percent saying their concern has grown over the last five years. Nearly three-quarters (70 percent) said it’s unacceptable for businesses to share consumer details with partner vendors without first securing permission.

Yet 39 percent like the idea of monetary compensation from a company for sharing their personal data, although 20 percent said they most value product discounts. Older generations—46 percent of Boomers compared to 29 percent of Gen Z—are interested in financial compensation. Gen Z respondents said they value greater convenience in using services (20 percent) and more responsive customer service and support (18 percent) in exchange for sharing their personal data with a company.

But when given the choice of saving time, money or protecting their privacy, respondents were torn what they value most. Money topped of the list with 42 percent of respondents saying they register for club card benefits even though they know the business probably shares data with partners. But another 40 percent said they value privacy above all and do not trust businesses to keep their personal data safe.

The survey gathered responses from 5,000 adults in six countries—Australia, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, the UK, and the U.S.

Back-to-School Shopping Is In Full Swing
A survey of 8,000 U.S. shoppers from Inmar Intelligence found shoppers have not altered their traditional back-to-school shopping lists and shopping channels due to COVID-19. Of the shoppers surveyed, 54 percent plan to shop in-store and online for their back-to-school items. Eighty-five percent plan to shop at two or more retailers. Their purchasing decisions are influenced as follows: 70 percent said discounts are an extremely or very significant factor on where to shop, and 73 percent said a wide selection of products and items is an extremely, or a very significant factor.

When asked which category of items are on their back-to-school shopping lists:

  • 71 percent plan to purchase school supplies;
  • 56 percent plan to purchase apparel;
  • 54 percent plan to purchase germ-fighting items;
  • 44 percent plan to purchase groceries;
  • 37 percent plan to purchase household items for the classroom or dorm; and
  • 30 percent plan to purchase homeschooling supplies.

“Back-to-school shoppers are looking for brands and products that will easily fit into their updated routines which will likely look very different from years past,” said David Mounts, chairman and CEO of Inmar Intelligence. “It is important for retailers and brands to be agile in their messaging across all channels to stay relevant and match how the consumer is feeling as fall approaches.”

Job Seekers Want Employers that Share Their Values
According to a survey of 1,034 recruiters and job seekers from Hinge Research Institute’s Employer Branding Study, conducted within the past four months, 57 percent of job seekers across all career levels consider culture as important as pay when evaluating job prospects. Cultural fit edged out work history and experience among 75 percent of recruiters.

The survey shows that one of the top elements of an employer brand—(73 percent) of the professionals surveyed—is having a defined and clearly articulated culture.

Other factors supporting a strong employer brand also ranking high in the survey of recruiters was attracting qualified candidates (51 percent) and strong brand differentiators (48 percent). A minority said a website that reflects an employer brand (37 percent) and content that supports an employer brand (34 percent) are important.

Job seekers value “company culture” sharing the top rating with a “competitive salary” when job seekers are looking for a new job.

“In today’s crisis environment, potential hires are taking a hard look at whether prospective employers’ values are aligned with theirs, while recruiters are putting a premium on maintaining a healthy workplace culture,” said Lee Frederiksen, managing partner of Hinge Research Institute.

Investing In Site Search And Discovery Pays Dividends
A new survey from Algolia indicates retailers with advanced site search return report their desktop conversion rate is 5.9 percent on average—more than twice as high as the 2.8  percent conversion rate cited by retailers with basic search capabilities—meaning site search return is directly tied to the site search terms consumers use in their queries). Overall, 50 percent of retailers surveyed experienced a revenue boost by improving site search.

Among other key findings:

  • 14 percent of respondents identified their site search capabilities as advanced (able to incorporate personalization and product recommendations into search results);
  • Half of the respondents surveyed saw a boost in revenue as a result of investing in site searches—such as relevance and personalization lead to the biggest benefits, overall improved customer experience, more efficient shopping experiences, and more time on site;
  • 80 percent of respondents either defined or are working on-site search KPIs that will deliver meaningful business impact;
  • The three most common site search KPIs for companies that have identified them are increasing the conversion rate from searches (73 percent), click-through rate from search terms (51 percent) and eliminating searches that return zero results (34 percent).

“Current circumstances provide a massive opportunity for online businesses to win new customers, particularly in the retail space, as shoppers adjust their buying habits to focus on e-commerce as opposed to in-person experiences,” said Lauren Freedman, senior consumer insights analyst, digital commerce 360.

COVID-19 Leads To Rethinking Checkout
The Visa Back To Business study found that 8-in-10 consumers worldwide (78 percent) have changed how they pay for merchandise to reduce physical contact and more than two-thirds of SMBs (67 percent) have tried a new approach—whether launching an e-commerce site or changing POS technology—to keep their business on track.

Among other key findings:

  • In each market surveyed, contactless payments have become a driving differentiator with nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents would switch to a new business that installed contactless payment options. For close to half of global consumers (46 percent), using contactless payment methods is among the most important safety measures for stores to follow. Nearly half (48 percent) would not shop at a store that only offered payment methods that require contact with a cashier or a shared device.
  • Despite the unpredictable nature of COVID-19, 75 percent of SMBs are optimistic about the future. 71  percent of global SMB owners saID they received support from their local communities with most coming in the form of business referrals (33 percent) and favorable reviews (31 percent). An area for improvement: where consumers shop, 9 percent of respondents said they shop exclusively at locally-owned businesses, whereas 15 percent shop exclusively at larger retailers, with a large mix of combined approaches falling in between.
  • Nearly 4-in-5 (78  percent) consumers have made changes to the way they pay, including shopping online when possible (49 percent), using contactless payments (48 percent) and not using cash as much (46 percent). A majority (70 percent) of respondents have used a new shopping or payment method for the first time, including 26 percent who have used a tap to pay for in-store purchases, shopping for groceries.