Coronavirus Impacts Buying Behaviors and Provides Opportunities for Brands

By Stacie Calabrese, VP, 4A’s Research, [email protected], and Christine Pelosi, Information Specialist, 4A’s Research, [email protected], using real-time market research platform Suzy.


4A’s Research surveyed 1000 consumers on April 2, 2020 using Suzy, a real-time market research platform, to understand how purchasing habits are evolving as consumers become more accustomed to staying at home. We also wanted to gauge the level of importance consumers are placing on staying home and social distancing during COVID-19.

Purchase Intent Remains Consistent
In comparison with our previous survey conducted on March 17th, consumer purchase intent has remained consistent, with the most popular purchase categories remaining household supplies (cleaning products, paper products, etc.) and beauty/personal care supplies. Streaming services and exercise classes/equipment saw a slight bump of 3% each. Medical/healthcare equipment saw the biggest drop at 7%, while electronics and office equipment dropped 3% and 2%, respectively.

Gender differences
In looking across gender, there were differences in purchase intent in the areas of streaming services, electronics, and exercise classes/equipment.

Participant parameters: 18+. Conducted by 4A’s Research Services via Suzy on 4/2/2020. Total participants: 1000

Beauty/personal care products
Taking a deeper look at the demographics of consumers intending to buy beauty/personal care products, at least half of consumers with incomes of $45,000 or more reported planning to buy these items in the next 30 days, with nearly 73% of consumers with incomes over $150,000 reporting that they intend to purchase beauty/personal care products.

The 35-49 year old demographic is most likely to purchase beauty/personal care products, topping 50%, with the 25-34 and 50-64 year old groups not far behind at over 48% each.

Participant parameters: 18+. Conducted by 4A’s Research Services via Suzy on 4/2/2020. Total participants: 1000

Major Purchases, Now and in the Future
Some consumers are taking the opportunity to make major purchases, like automobiles and major appliances. Excluding those consumers who do not need to make a major purchase at this time, 24% report taking advantage of incentives and 12.5% were using their new free time to do thorough research on products in order to make purchase decisions. Consumers are also looking forward to the days when they can shop in-person, with 21% reporting that they are not making major purchases at this time because they are waiting to shop in-person.

Brands can take advantage of this opportunity by continuing to advertise to maintain awareness, both for the consumers willing to buy now and for those who will buy when retail locations reopen.

Brand Loyalty and Opportunity for New Brands
70% of respondents intend to buy brands they know and trust over the next month. African-American consumers are most likely to say they intend to buy known brands at 76.2%, with Asian-American consumers close behind at 72.2%.

Participant parameters: 18+. Conducted by 4A’s Research Services via Suzy on 4/2/2020. Total participants: 1000

78% of consumers said they would buy any brand available for the products they need. This provides an opportunity for newer, smaller, and direct-to-consumer brands to reach new audiences when go-to brands can’t be found on the grocery or drug store shelves. Similarly, brands can tap into their loyal customer base to help maintain brand loyalty. By providing comfort and a sense of community during this time, brands can nurture customer relationships and build consumer trust. Implementing such strategies will help grow brand loyalty and give brands the strength to weather this pandemic successfully. Our previous survey shows that 43% find it reassuring to hear from brands they know and trust.

Importance of staying home during the Coronavirus
The 4A’s is a partner in the #StayHome movement, a PSA campaign with the Ad Council to reinforce practices of safe living and decision-making to help change the course of COVID-19 outbreaks—and save lives. We found 84% of respondents think it’s very important to stay home and restrict contact with people outside of their household in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

When broken out by generation, the likelihood of answering “Very Important” increases with age: 100% of respondents 65+ answered this way, while 75.5% of those 18-24 did so.

Participant parameters: 18+. Conducted by 4A’s Research Services via Suzy on 4/2/2020. Total participants: 1000

4A’s Research will continue to examine shifts in consumer behavior and sentiment regarding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Feel free to email us with topics or suggestions for future surveys.

Don’t miss our recent article on the Coronavirus Impact on Business Operations, focusing on how workplaces are handling COVID-19, and Consumer Sentiment Towards Brands During COVID-19, which explores consumer attitudes toward brand communication during the pandemic.

Please see the latest Coronavirus Updates from the 4A’s.