In market research, we always need to be considering the relevancy and timeliness of insights. What insights are evergreen? What needs to be revisited? Is now the best time?
Without belaboring the point (because, let’s be honest, we have all heard enough about the pandemic and the “new normal”), now is an important time to re-consider known consumer insights, specifically focusing on consumer mindset and behaviors.
When I think of my life, I essentially feel like the same person that I was two years ago. Have I gone through more life experience in light of the pandemic? Yes, but when I look in the mirror, I still see myself, and that feels consistent.
Although, when I pause to think about myself as a consumer, I see little signs that tell me I, too, have changed. The foundation of my behaviors stays the same, but parts within them are different. Here are three that come to mind:
- My Health and Wellness Consumption: I was a Peloton user before the pandemic. I am a Peloton user now. All looks the same on paper because that consumption of exercise classes has not changed. The frequency is the same. The purpose is the same. But I find I need different things. With some consistencies, the Peloton instructors I used to follow pre-pandemic have turned over. The emotions and encouragement I want to experience during workouts now are different: forget a hyped talk track. Now, I want a soothing and real experience to start and get me through my day.
- My Brand Consumption: I have always prioritized shopping at small businesses over large ones. Before and after the pandemic, I would have put this as a top priority. However, I find my commitment is changed. Before, I was more passive, supporting these smaller options that I knew I loved or found their way to me. Today, I am more active in seeking out new options and taking the time to find alternatives. Here too, on paper, this may look the same, but the details highlight a change.
- My Retail Consumption: More than before, functional drivers of retail purchases, largely clothing and accessories, have been replaced with emotional ones. In the past, an occasion or need would drive my purchase of new items to wear; today, my purchases are dictated by what makes me feel good. Even if I have nowhere to go, if I feel good in my home, that justifies the need and sparks the purchase.
I’m not sure if it took a pandemic to make me notice these subtle, but important differences. Maybe I (like many others) am focusing more on feeling good about my health and wellness consumption and shopping choices. Or maybe it’s because I’m a qualitative moderator who is always seeking the “whys” behind my – and other consumers’ – actions. I think this is showing me that now, more than ever, it’s critical to keep a finger on the pulse of consumers, no matter how subtle changes may be.