Marketing strategies must shift as consumers become more price-sensitive now than pre-pandemic

A survey of 1,004 US adults conducted by marketing solutions company Vericast’s Valassis business and a third-party market research firm reveals nearly three quarters of consumers say they increased their savings behaviors during the pandemic and 82% plan to continue these practices over the next year.

Part of this shift reflects widespread job losses, pay cuts, furloughs and other negative financial impacts that occurred early in the pandemic when regional lockdown orders disrupted the economy, according to The Consumer Optimism Outlook, which revealed 49% of consumers said their household income was negatively impacted by COVID-19 in 2020 and the “vast majority” of those expect it to continue in 2021.

However, another savings driver was the “forced closing of leisure activities and concern for the economic outlook,”​ which could dissipate as out-of-home entertainment and activities resume over the course of this year, the report notes.

Regardless of the impetus for saving, more consumers are price-conscious now than last year, according to the survey. It found 31% on consumers consider themselves price-conscious while shopping for consumer packaged goods and groceries – an increase from 23% in 2020.

Given that money will continue to be tight for many consumers and that “financial scars will run deep,”​ researchers recommend brands “communicate with deals, bargains and big benefits,” ​if they want to successfully engage with shoppers.

Marketing should emphasize familiarity and reassurance

Valassis also recommends in the report that brands concentrate messaging on “familiarity, consistency, reassurance and authenticity,”​ given many consumers’ lingering concerns about safety and their uneven optimism for the future.

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