With more people making purchases from home, have you considered, not just whether and how much buyers are still shopping, but any changes in how they do it? It’s an interesting question, and it’s the subject of a new white paper by Selligent, “Digital Marketing and the New Concept of Home.” While the white paper focuses on digital marketing, the principles of buyer behavior apply to all types of marketing.

As Selligent notes, the pandemic has fundamentally changed consumer behavior:

After experiencing weeks, if not months of “shelter in place” orders, people now rely on their home as the place to take refuge from the outside world, literally as their shelter. While the risk of [coronavirus] infection continues to linger over outside spaces, home is where people feel safe, protected, and centered. New behavior patterns have emerged, disrupting everything from shopping, socializing, all the way to balancing work and private life in isolation.

What are some of the changes?

1. There has been a jump in mobile shopping.

Remember the days when mobile phones were only a fraction of the overall devices used to make online purchases? Me neither—way too long ago. The coronavirus pandemic has only accelerated the fade. In fact, as noted by Statista, cellphone use is up 70% since the pandemic began. Selligent’s takeaway? Ensure maximum mobile-friendliness in both content and communications. This includes monitoring messages by all mobile and social media channels, including Messenger. Consider implementing location-based mobile messaging for marketing communications.

2. The focus of purchases has shifted.

People aren’t changing what they like to do as a result of the pandemic. They are just changing where they do it.

At the end of March, consumer spending on fitness outside the home had dropped by 40% while spending on dining out was down 40% and entertainment outside the home declined 20%. On the flipside, consumer spending on at-home fitness was up 35%, and at-home entertainment had increased by 15%.[1]As the lockdown continued into May, spending on fashion had declined by 75%, while home fitness was soaring at 210%, clearly indicative of newly emerged consumer trends.

What does this mean for you? While you might not be in the position to influence the types of products your customers develop, you can provide direction in how those products are positioned. Outdoor grilling, for example, is no longer just for the occasional hangout—you know, when you aren’t inside watching the game. It’s become the default way of entertaining, along with the new wide-screen mounted under the porch overhang. That’s positioning.

3. Many habits formed during the pandemic are likely to be permanent.

Things like Zoom meetings, online food and grocery delivery, and interacting in a touchless world have become more normalized with the need to shelter in place. However, Selligent forecasts that, while many of these behaviors will return to pre-pandemic conditions, others will stay and become part of the new normal. According to the report:

After several months on coronavirus lockdown, the people emerging from their homes are not the same as before. They have formed new emotional bonds with their living space. They have become “home bodies,” relating to the external world from the safety of their shelter as their emotional center of gravity.

The point? Remember that “home” is buyers’ new safe space. Respect privacy, streamline the bread crumbs from search to purchase, and implement contactless shopping experiences as much as possible. (Selligent notes that, worldwide, 57% of consumers have altered their lifestyles to be as contactless as possible, including pick-up on their shopping trips.)

There has also been an uptick in demand for DIY options. This means increased need for marketers to beef up customer support, online tutorials, and so on.

The world after the coronavirus pandemic isn’t going to look like the world before it. While certain things will return to the way they were, this will not be the case with everything. Marketers that anticipate those changes and modify their channel mix, their messaging, and their product positioning will be in far better shape than those who simply expect things to resume as before. How are you prepared to help?


[1]Civis Analytics, “COVID-19 in the US: Consumer Insights for Businesses,” March 24, 2020.