Post-COVID consumer finance trends – Acxiom

Chris Vinnicombe, Acxiom

The COVID-19 pandemic has been defined by speed. Governments responded with historic fiscal policies and extraordinary restrictions on civil liberties. Citizens responded with incredible levels of adherence to restrictions on movement, social participation and leisure outside the home. Businesses responded remarkably quickly to increase supply and facilitate delivery of essential products, protect health and safety and repurpose existing production to essential needs.

Now is the time to reflect on these changes, assess their impact and begin to look forward. To help with that, we surveyed 10,000 people in the U.S. and 5,000 people in the U.K. to explore these four key dimensions:

  1. The economic impact of the pandemic
  2. The level of confidence in returning to the physical economy
  3. New habits and their likelihood to persist post-pandemic
  4. Responses to the pandemic and the public health measures implemented

This report will assess all of this at a macro level, with a focus on five key industries: consumer technology and telecommunications, financial services, retail, automotive, and travel.

“As we enter this next phase of the pandemic, the majority of businesses face uncharted waters of temporary and lasting change,” said Acxiom’s head of international, Mike Menzer. “Underpinning everything is the confidence and trust of the customer. Pandemic consciousness is an important factor that needs to be respected and managed by businesses trying to win back or maintain customer loyalty in the new normal.”

Some of the results are as follows:

Consumer technology:

  • Weekly video call app use started at 36% before the pandemic, reached 62% during the pandemic, and is expected to fall to 51% after the pandemic. Weekly users will have grown by a third overall
  • After the pandemic, just over 20% of workers plan to work from home most of the time, and more than half plan to do so at least some of the time
    • More than 70% of those in tech and telco, financial services, and commercial and professional services want to continue working from home at least some of the time after the pandemic

Telecoms:

  • 30% of the population now have multiple streaming services, up from 25% before the pandemic
    • This number increases to 43% of millennials and 51% of gen Zs
  • Of those surveyed, the majority of those who signed up for a new streaming service showed little intention of cancelling in the next year or so
    • The one exception to this is Apple TV, which showed a higher risk of losing more than half of their subscribers in the next year

Financial Services

  • 51% of people intend to save more after the crisis, while 17% are waiting to see how their employment situation develops before deciding
    • 68% of Gen Z intend to save more
  • 90% of people in the U.K. now use contactless cards in general, and 45% said they were using them more often during the pandemic

Retail

  • It took a decade for online retail sales to increase from 5% of all sales to 19% between 2006 and 2019. Over the pandemic it took three months for it to increase by the same margin
  • For product categories bought online, naturally household services and fitness and wellness both jumped by a lot, 14% and 17% respectively
    • Surprisingly, online jewellery purchases which usually get cut in a recession, saw growth from 32% to 42%

Automotive

  • 24% of those looking to buy another car have already delayed their purchase and another 24% are considering delays
  • 51% of those looking to buy a car have said they are now more likely to buy electric as a result of seeing the benefits of reduced air pollution

Travel

  • In the U.K., 71% are considering a domestic trip this year
  • 22% of the population is still going on an international vacation they had planned before the crisis, or intend to book a new one as soon as possible.
  • 33% want to see how the situation develops before going on an international vacation. When it comes to international bookings for next year, this number rises to 47% for those who want to see how things play out

To access the full report, click here

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