In a post-COVID era, businesses across industries are realigning corporate objectives and strategies to meet the demands of consumers in the new normal.
Results from Euromonitor’s Voice of the Industry: Lifestyles Survey 2020 reveal three main areas of focus for corporate strategy planning and recovery:
Source: Euromonitor International
Consumer-centric corporate strategy is a must
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has transformed people’s behaviour. Consumers of all ages are forming new, in many cases long-lasting habits and routines across different areas of their lives. From how and where they shop, socialise, work and more. Businesses are having to adapt to reach consumers in or nearer to their homes and to provide access to products and services at any time and from anywhere.
Understanding these shifts in behaviour and putting consumer needs and desires at the core of corporate strategy has therefore never been more important. Interestingly, consumers are also keen to help, with nearly 50% of respondents from the lifestyle survey willing to engage with business to inform and influence product and service development.
While a high proportion of business professionals believe they understand consumer trends well, especially among their existing customer base, there is clearly an opportunity to leverage this desire from consumers to collaborate, to stay ahead of the game and even broaden appeal to a potential wider audience.
Top Ranking Factors Informing Company Strategy
Source: Voice of the Industry: Lifestyles 2020; fielded in November 2020
Digital investment is now essential for most businesses
The pandemic-driven move to online for many traditional in-person activities is set to stay, with digital solutions playing a key role in consumer’s lifestyles in the future. Businesses are aware that consumers will increasingly judge their digital capabilities and are therefore focusing on tech initiatives and investment from e-commerce and omnichannel presence, tailored marketing and mobile apps, through to advanced automated solutions such as AR/VR and even robotics.
Business must bridge the gap between sustainability awareness and action
While sustainability awareness is increasing, only 20% of businesses surveyed in Euromonitor’s 2020 Voice of the Industry: Lifestyles Survey ranked sustainability as a top three factor for their company’s strategy.
There is a clear disconnect between awareness and action, with cost being the main barrier and ongoing concerns about how much consumers are acting on their own sustainability values. However, as the world recovers from COVID-19, consumers’ social and environmental values have been heightened, with many making choices based on these evolving sustainability priorities. This is the time for companies to close the awareness action gap if they are to succeed in the future.
Four Objectives for Companies to Prioritise
Source: Euromonitor International
Findings from the lifestyle survey also suggest that recovery and growth is the most important objective for nearly two-thirds of company professionals in 2021. Consumers are spending less and more cautiously, therefore, to maintain sales and grow, companies must innovate and align products, services and brand values with those of the consumer.
Investment in technology is more crucial than ever for companies to stay relevant, due to the rapid shift to online and digital solutions for much of consumers’ daily activity, triggered by the pandemic. This shift to a more digitalised lifestyle has increased the opportunity for expanded brand visibility. Businesses need to leverage online engagement to build a positive reputation and brand image.
The significant changes in consumer lifestyles and the subsequent shift in what and how people consume are forcing companies to look inwards at operational capabilities and efficiencies. Organisations are restructuring to put consumer-centric thinking at their core, transforming operations for greater agility and flexibility. This is a winning strategy for future-proofing business, enabling companies to adapt and innovate in line with rapidly shifting consumer behaviour.
Learn more in the Voice of the Industry: Consumer Lifestyles briefing.
For further insights on our Voice of the Industry series watch our free video: Using Survey Data to Measure the Impact of COVID-19 on Businesses and Consumers.
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