New York, NY ¬– April 9, 2020 – CGS, a global provider of business applications, enterprise learning and outsourcing services, today announced new data about consumer purchasing trends and service interactions during March 2020 in its 2020 CGS State of the U.S. eCommerce Consumer Survey. As retailers around the world shift their business models to support COVID-19 social distancing requirements, finding ways to connect with new and long-term customers is crucial. The survey found that consumers are still purchasing non-essential items and willing to adjust their service expectations, as long as companies communicate any disruptions and reward their loyalty.
CGS sponsored Dynata to survey 1,000 consumers across the U.S. about their current spending habits around non-essential items. For the purposes of this survey, non-essential purchases are items other than food, medicine and hygiene products. Notable findings include:
Consumers aren’t upset about service disruptions, but continued transparency is essential
Whether it’s production delays or a reduced staff, many companies are unable to maintain the level of service they had earlier this year. However, most consumers said they were not affected by these operational strains. More than half of the respondents (53 percent) stated that they are not feeling any disruptions to their service right now. A large part of this could be the proactive communication they are receiving around service disruptions. When asked if consumers are experiencing delays, more than one-third said they were but the brand communicated the delay. Another 28 percent reported experiencing no delays at all. As long as companies are being proactive to remedy delays and make customers aware of the longer resolution timeline, consumers are less likely to feel any significant service disruptions.
Loyalty programs are a must-have for retailers
Across the globe, many businesses are using rewards and loyalty perks as a way to maintain their customer base – and it’s working. When asked what type of loyalty programs would entice them to buy right now, more than 90 percent of consumers responded that free shipping and product discounts/promotions would win them over. For small and local retailers, this is even more crucial to ensure they maintain their instore customer base. Right now, the majority of consumers (69 percent) are utilizing Amazon and other marketplace websites for their non-essential purchases. Another 13 percent are using department store websites, with less than ten percent going directly to a brand’s website or a local store. Rewarding customers through promotions, membership benefits and individual perks is a way of maintaining business through these difficult times and beyond.
Consumers continue to make non-essential purchases for their wardrobe
Americans are extremely focused on the health and safety of their loved ones right now, but they are still finding ways to treat themselves and others. This includes making updates to their closet: 49 percent of consumers are purchasing everyday clothing. That percentage increases to almost 60 percent when looking at the respondents who have full-time employment.
“While so much of the retail and wholesale industry has been upended, consumers are continuing to purchase clothing for their everyday lives,” said Paul Magel, President, Business Applications at CGS. “The survey confirms that the abrupt change to work from home and social distancing requires a different type of wardrobe – less spending on luxury items and accessories.”
Of the one thousand individuals surveyed, the majority of consumers (46 percent) are employed full-time and another 17 percent are retired. Access to a stable income likely factored into their purchasing habits, but age also played a major role. When looking at millennials (25-34-year old), 64 percent are buying everyday clothing. The older consumers are much less likely to be making fashion purchases, suggesting retailers should focus their targeting efforts on younger buyers.
About the survey:
Dynata, the leading market research and insights company, conducted this survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers March 30-31, 2020. The full findings are available here.
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For 35 years, CGS has enabled global enterprises, regional companies and government agencies to drive breakthrough performance through business applications, enterprise learning and outsourcing services. CGS is wholly focused on creating comprehensive solutions that meet clients' complex, multi-dimensional needs and support clients' most fundamental business activities. Headquartered in New York City, CGS has offices across North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. For more information, please visit www.cgsinc.com and follow us on Twitter at @CGSinc and @BlueCherryCGS and on LinkedIn.
Susan Sweeney, CGS
Kate Connors (for CGS)