New research shows a number of issues affect Australian consumers’ purchasing habits: inflation, limited retail staffing, lack of trust in sustainable practices, cybersecurity concerns, and digitalised personal shopping.
A survey of more than 5,000 consumers across the UK, Australia, Canada, France and Germany, investigated consumer behaviour shifts. The findings shed light on essential insights shaping consumer choices and present critical implications for businesses seeking to engage effectively with their customers.
Inflation alters spending habits
A significant 82 per cent of Australians have shifted their spending behaviour due to the economic situation. Consumers are choosing a variety of ways to save money, including buying cheaper products (65 per cent), delaying or stopping big purchases (53 per cent), purchasing own-brand products more frequently (46 per cent), setting aside more money for savings (24 per cent), and reducing charity participation (24 per cent).
Human touch in the digital era
Consumers are seeking the human element in their shopping experience, despite the growing prevalence of digital shopping. There were marked concerns about checkoutless shopping, with 60 per cent of Australian respondents regarding the absence of staff assistance as a critical challenge.
Even though convenience drives checkoutless and digital shopping only 8 per cent of respondents access the metaverse and 5 per cent trying checkoutless shopping.
Sceptical brand trust
While a majority of Australian consumers (68 per cent) indicated they trust a brand that communicates its efforts to apply sustainable practices, that leaves 32 per cent sceptical of firms’ actions. And 43 per cent of Aussies lack confidence in the security of their personal data provided to online companies.
Loyalty beyond price
Aussies regard price as a crucial element of the buying decision but increasingly value ways brands strengthen customer loyalty. Just over half of the customers surveyed (51 per cent) consider customer reviews in online brand comparisons.
Customers like to receive personalised treatment, with 52 per cent valuing stores that remember their purchase history and offer tailored suggestions. When it comes to brand allegiance, 69 per cent of consumers use loyalty program apps or platforms.
How retailers can address these 2024 consumer trends
The survey was conducted by software research site Capterra, which suggests a number of actions in response to consumer purchasing habits.
Adjust pricing for cost-sensitive consumers
It is vital retailers manage pricing, and price transparency, to remain competitive. While discounting is a possible strategy, it needs to be matched by finding internal efficiencies.
Lean into loyalty
Loyalty is still a strong factor for many consumers, especially if they can benefit from discounts. So it makes sense to develop or enhance reward programs that encourage repeat purchases.
Be ready for the bounce-back
Now is the time to develop strategies ready to optimise the return of consumer confidence once the current economic pressures ease.
Plan technology adoption with care
Keep tabs on tech advancements, taking a pragmatic view of how customers will respond and change their habits. It is important to gather and check data on the consumer experience first to discover the best opportunities.
Keep the human touch in the buying experience
It is important to consider how to retain a personal, human touch when weighing up the best ways to introduce artificial intelligence (AI) and bots as a streamlining process.
Transparency and reliability
Transparency is synonymous with trust for consumers increasingly concerned about their spending, brand image and sustainability. Retailers need to develop clear communications and adapt them to each channel and each situation to gain consumer trust.
Offer user-friendly privacy consent solutions
Financial loss, reputational damage, and even breaches of privacy laws can result from poor data security. With cyber security a concern for consumers, retailers need to focus on consent and preference management capabilities.
Watch your e-reputation
Retailers need to nurture their online reputations as customer reviews and brand image continue to guide consumers’ online choices.
Make the customer experience personal
It is important to consider the impact on consumers of loyalty programs, and a personalised shopping experience that facilitates decision-making.