COVID-19 is likely to have a profound and lasting effect on shoppers’ behavior, even after the pandemic has passed. A global study by experiential advertising agency Momentum Worldwide found several changes brought about by the pandemic that it expects to persist going forward.

The first finding is that the behavior of bulk buying and “the big store” is here to stay, and it recommends brands respond with larger packaged quantities. Also, 76 percent of survey respondents indicated they will return to their preferred household brands and 78 percent said that grocery stores and supermarkets are the No.1 place they will be most comfortable returning to.

The survey findings also suggest that brands should give back to the local community, as 93 percent of consumers expect big-name brands to give back in the areas in which they operate. Momentum recommends retailers be active in helping local communities, as 87 percent of consumers said seeing a brand give support during the pandemic has improved their perception of that brand, and 82 percent agreed they will seek out and buy from those brands.

Little luxuries are essential as 85 percent of those surveyed said it’s important to reward themselves, and 79 percent seek out moments to reward themselves during what is a stressful time.

Momentum says ecommerce is the new in-store as 79 percent of consumers are likely to continue using grocery delivery services. With what Momentum terms the “e-experience” now as important as in-store, it recommends brands improve their ecommerce to ensure they are effective and trustworthy, and that trust is the biggest reason consumers choose one brand over another.

Momentum also expects digital advertising to increase and recommends retailers emphasize their digital spending. With 84 percent of consumers now shopping online since the pandemic, it says that brands need to shift spend accordingly so they remain “seen” by consumers.

“A provocative insight we found is that while shoppers admit they are likely to continue purchasing online, the vast majority miss the in-person experience,” says Luke D’Arcy, president of Momentum UK. “Eighty-three percent of study respondents said they miss shopping time with family and friends and 79 percent said they miss being able to touch and feel products. This suggests that it’s extremely important for retailers to continually keep a pulse on shopper attitudes and behaviors as they continue to morph, depending on consumer safety and comfort.”

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