Blog post

Consumer Behavior to Keep Top of Mind in 2021

It would be an understatement to say that throughout 2020, there have been numerous and massive changes across almost all industries, for good or bad. For eCommerce, the shift of consumers to digital platforms was out of necessity, but different behaviors have been created or modified out of this necessity.

In this blog post, we will summarize some key consumer behaviors that have become prominent in 2020 and are expected to remain in 2021. Keeping these behaviors in mind, in combination with the trends we discussed in the last blogpost, will allow for a more comprehensive view of the e-commerce landscape.

In combination with the report published by FUTR Group and our experience with our customers,  we identified six key points that should be considered when creating or maintaining your eCommerce business in light of these changes in behavior. 

1. Value (perceived vs. real)

The concept of perceived value vs. real value has come to be a dominant buying factor for consumers, with two key behaviors coming up:

        a. Consumers are buying less and aiming for better quality when they do shop.

        b. Other consumers are also more price-sensitive and are more likely to buy their favorite items wherever it is being offered at the lowest price. This price sensitivity            also lends itself to consumers being more willing to try different products to save money, leading to a rise in private label products.

2. The older demographics are shifting to digital transactions

Partly due to Covid accelerating initial adoption, consumers of all ages are experiencing the convenience of online shopping and will continue to shop online in years to come. This has created opportunities for retailers to capitalize on this new digital market by creating customer experiences and marketing directly aimed at them.

3. Hyperlocal and on-demand purchasing

With small businesses being forced to close, there has been an increase in the priority to shop locally shopping for two reasons. Firstly, communities want to help support their local businesses and local economies where they can. However, with global supply chains being put to the test, buying locally can be a faster option.  Consumers are shifting behaviors to purchase from wherever will allow for the quickest access, causing businesses, big and small, to reevaluate their supply chains and business models. For example, offering click and collect from inventory in existing stores over shipping items from overseas. 

4. Big Brands vs. Direct to Consumer (DTC)

Up until now, DTC was considered disruptive to well known big brands. However, big retailers began to invest in their own version of the DTC model prior to the pandemic. This is expected to accelerate even faster due to the increased market demand for on-demand products. For example, Pepsico created a direct to consumer website for their snacks, eliminating the need to go through a third party.

Existing DTC brands that were thriving before the pandemic will continue to thrive, whereas those that were struggling might not. Collaboration between DTC brands to expand their audience will be crucial to survival.

5. Live streams & social commerce

Having started primarily in China, there was an increase in brands doing live streaming across different platforms, be it a fashion show or product launch. Influencers have also used live streaming to advertise and promote different products giving the consumer a different experience and interacting with user-generated content. Seeing that it was a major success, especially with GenZ, this strategy was quickly replicated in Europe and North America.

Social commerce has allowed full transactions to be completed within the chosen social media application, making the experience convenient for consumers. Instagram has been a leader in this category, starting with donation stickers in Stories to the recent rollout of their shopping mall feature.

6. Omni-channel

Larger eCommerce players have begun moving away from siloing online and offline experiences, making it hyper-connected via smartphones and physical stores. For example, virtually trying on a product then going to the store to see it in person and purchase it. We also see that some retailers are redesigning their brick and mortar stores to be in line with Covid restrictions, but these redesigns are also being done to support the omnichannel experience moving beyond the pandemic.


These changes in consumer behavior will shape decisions of digital strategy for years to come. However, as an eCommerce business, you need to understand how consumers are buying, what they are buying, and why they decide to purchase.  There has been no better time to ensure that your consumers see the most relevant and personalized content in real-time, helping to add to all of the above trends. 

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