If what matters most to people has changed...
how will organisations know what's important?
The Australian Pulse® conducted a national study of Australians to understand consumer attitudes and their likely behaviour as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown and discovered that consumer attitudes and behaviour is likely to change and we then we also compared some of the findings to similar research conducted in the UK.
Australians’ appear to think the changes will be long term as opposed to those in the UK.
In both Australia and the UK, the split of those who think there will be lasting changes to their lives as a result of COVID-19 vs those who think things will return to normal is 60:40, respectively, so the majority of Australians’ appear to think the changes will be long term as opposed to the British.
- In Australia, the Gen Z’s are somewhat less optimistic about a quick return to normality, with 52% feeling that changes will be permanent, compared to 40% in the UK.
- In Australia, two-thirds (67%) of Gen Y and Xennials (those aged 25-44) feel that changes will be permanent – far more than in the UK where it’s split right down the middle.
- For those aged over 45 years, the results are more similar, with 59% in Australia and two-thirds in the UK anticipating lasting lifestyle changes.
There are substantial differences among different generations within each country and this all illustrates that companies need to understand how COVID-19 has changed their particular customers’ priorities.
Organisations trying to ‘do best what matters most to customers’ may be focusing on the wrong things if ‘what matters most has changed’.
Validating what is important to customers (both in terms of what they explicitly state is important as well as what drivers analysis indicates is important on a more subconscious level) will be key to ensuring that companies proceed in the right direction.
There is some positivity, however, with 46% optimistic that once this is all over, they will be spending their money just as they did before.
Attitudes among Australians’
Generally Australians are appreciative of what companies and brands have done so far in these tough times, with over two-thirds (69%) indicating that they will stay loyal to them post-COVID.
- There is far more agreement among the population that some of the changes to their lifestyle will be permanent (60%) than not (15%).
- Caution with money and restricted spending is a significant theme, particularly among younger Australians. As many as 69% of Australians are already focused on saving money, with almost half (49%) indicating that they are only buying household necessities.
- There is also a mindset shift with 60% already planning to be better prepared for unexpected contingencies.
Customer experiences – getting loyalty from younger generations is a significant challenge
While most Australians (69%) will purportedly stay loyal to brands after COVID, this differs substantially across different consumer generations with older generations being far more likely to stay loyal than younger generations.
Younger Australians’ have higher brand expectations, feeling that brands could have been communicating with them more in these tough times, and they are less likely to feel that brands have done what they can in this tough time.
Younger Australians’ have also been financially impacted to a greater extent, and anticipate being more cautious with their money post-COVID, and indicate that it will be sometime before they are financially able to go out as much as they used to.
Getting loyalty from younger consumers in Australia is going to be much more of a challenge into the future, with only around half (55%) of Gen Z indicating that they will be loyal to the brands and venues they purchased from prior to COVID once things open back up again.
Understanding what drives customer satisfaction and loyalty among different segments of the population will be fundamental to attracting and retaining customers. For example, our research in Australia show’s that Gen Z and Gen Y are significantly more likely to have a brand’s social responsibility as a driver of purchase compared to other generations, with over two-thirds (68%) of them considering this to be important (compared to just half (51%) of Gen X, for example).
It’s now more important than ever to be trying to understand what will be driving customer satisfaction in the future as clearly it is changing as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns.