Surveys

COVID-19: Consumer Trends and Where They’ll Go from Here

SurveysJul 14, 2020

COVID-19: Consumer Trends and Where They’ll Go from Here

A recent survey by Provoke Insights looks at online shopping vs. off, the in-store experience and consumers’ top concerns about the future.

20200714_Gurhan-necklace.jpg
According to a recent study from Provoke Insights, 22 percent of U.S. consumers said they aren’t buying as much jewelry online as they were before the pandemic, while 10 percent said they’re buying more. Pictured here is Gurhan’s three-strand “Vertigo” necklace in 24-karat gold with hand-hammered tubular beads.

New York—Consumers have adopted new purchasing patterns in light of the restrictions imposed—and in some cases still in place—across the country.

The question remains, which of these habits will stick even as states reopen, and which won’t?

In its most recent study of 2020 consumer trends, market research firm Provoke Insights aimed to gain a better perspective on consumers’ mindsets and behavior changes pre-, during and post-pandemic.

It conducted a survey among 600 U.S. consumers between the ages of 21 and 65, with sampling based on the latest census data so factors like income, age, gender and geography reflected the country’s population.

The 10-minute survey was fielded between June 5 and 15.

Here’s what it found about how consumers have been shopping since March, and how that could change.

Online Luxury Shopping
Perhaps unsurprisingly, according to survey results, 77 percent of Americans who usually wear jewelry said they haven’t been wearing it as often as they did prior to the start of the pandemic—understandable given the trend of dressing more casually while stay-at-home orders were in place.

As jewelry wearing has declined in frequency, so too has online shopping in the category.

According to Provoke Insights, 22 percent of U.S. shoppers aren’t buying as much jewelry online as they were before the pandemic.

Ten percent said they are buying more jewelry than before.

Among the age groups, Provoke found that millennials are most likely to buy jewelry, watches, handbags and other accessories online right now.

In-Store Luxury Shopping
The study also looked at in-store shopping, which 66 percent of survey-takers said they plan to do when stores reopen.

The question, though, is how often they might do that.

According to the survey, 45 percent of Americans will shop in stores the same amount, while 42 percent are planning to shop at luxury retailers less than before the pandemic and 12 percent said they will shop more.

Members of Generation Z—the generation that follows the millennials—and millennials are more likely to shop in-store once luxury retailers reopen.

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Among Gen Z, 53 percent said they would shop more or the same amount in luxury retailers, while the remaining 47 percent said they would shop less.

For millennials, 60 percent indicated they’d shop at luxury retailers more or the same amount, with the remaining 40 percent indicating they’d shop there less.

Because of health and safety concerns that come along with in-store shopping, the store experience will also change, Provoke said.

The survey showed there’s an interest in “out-of-the-box” retail ideas to provide new shopping opportunities, especially among younger consumers.
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A quarter of luxury shoppers are interested in virtual shopping events—with nearly half of Gen Z and more than a third of millennials indicating they’d be interested—and 27 percent also said they’re interested in scheduling an appointment to be able to shop privately and avoid other customers.

Other Categories
A handful of industries have seen their online sales increase throughout the pandemic.

Makeup, for example, is selling at a higher rate online as consumers go digital to purchase their favorite products, with 34 percent of Americans purchasing makeup or skincare online in the last three months, up from 29 percent before March.

Online grocery sales have risen 20 percent over the last three months.

Personal care items and alcohol also have seen an uptick, while online sales of furniture and kitchen appliances have declined.

Future Concerns
Provoke Insights also asked survey-takers about their concerns and outlooks as states reopen.

People are most concerned about COVID-19’s effect on the economy, with 76 percent of survey-takers indicating this is a worry for them.

Sixty-three percent said they’re concerned about social events, 61 percent about eating at restaurants, 55 percent about shopping in stores, 49 percent about health and 37 percent about the security of their job.

Looking ahead, three out of four U.S. consumers said they expect the country to dip into a recession.

Still, the majority—72 percent—are optimistic about the future for various reasons including family, religion and knowing the virus will eventually subside.

Those who indicated they don’t feel optimistic about the future said they’d be more so if there was a COVID-19 vaccine or a change in political leadership, survey results found.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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