According to a survey by consulting firm EY, despite salaried professionals’ incomes are unaffected by the pandemic, they took a long time before making a decision to buy.
“It was observed that the pre-purchase i.e. the consideration stage has prolonged considerably as the consumer gives much more thought before making the actual purchase,” EY stated in a press statement.
The survey which is called Life in a Pandemic: Future of Retail – mapping shift in consumers shopping experiences, also noted that customers prefer a shop in their locality over a mall.
Three out of four customers avoided crowded areas, although 67 per cent of customers were hesitant to drive more than five km. As factors like proximity, affordability, choice, protection and hygiene took precedence, almost 50 per cent of customers moved from their preferred shops to new grocery stores.
With about 40 per cent of consumers opting to shop online and less than 20 per cent continuing to trust in-store interactions to buy jewellery, cars and furniture, the study added, electronics, cosmetics, and home appliances experienced a change in purchasing behaviour.
With the outbreak of COVID-19, consumers continue to limit their exposure outside their homes and most of them are not comfortable spending more than 30 minutes in a shop. The survey showed that about 76 per cent of consumers decided to sanitise their transactions again at the point of purchase, 76 per cent favoured digital payments, and 78 per cent preferred self-checkout kiosks.
“There is a significant change in consumer behavior that is impacting how purchase decisions are made and altering the retail shopping experience. This is a double win for retailers, compelling them to deploy emerging technologies to increase the efficiency of operations in the short term and enable sustainable cost savings across the value chain in the long-run,” said Pinakiranjan Mishra, sector leader – consumer products and retail at EY India.
The findings were based on the results of a survey of 436 respondents, of whom 385 were salaried professionals from various age groups, genders and types of cities.