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How a Public Health Crisis Impacts Consumer Behavior

In a time where people are either opting to stay indoors or being mandated to stay indoors because of a state decreed, “Stay at Home” order, businesses are trying to navigate an unprecedented shift in customer interactions. Consumers and businesses alike are unsure of the future and where their financial resources lie. As a result, the customer experience looks different than it did even a few weeks ago.

The digital experience team at Merkle took a dive into these shifting consumer habits. During the week of March 16, the team conducted a survey of the general population to get a scope of customer experience, loyalty, and behavior during the coronavirus pandemic. We surveyed 406 people with nationwide representation. Eighty-two percent of our audience was between the ages of 25 and 54 with 58% of the audience identifying as male and the remainder female.

Our research found that:

  • 69% of people stated they were going out less; women were 10% more likely to state that they were going out less than men.
  • 63% of people stated that they avoided shared or public spaces; women were 17% more likely to avoid these places.
  • Those between the ages of 45-54 were 36% more likely to face financial insecurity and 113% more likely to be impacted by communications from companies surrounding flexibility in fines and policies than the general audience.
  • 54% of people stated that they either shopped less and shifted their shopping online, or they shopped less overall; women were more 50% more likely to curb their shopping during the outbreak.
  • 30% of people stated that they have considered supporting businesses as a result of special solutions they offered around the coronavirus pandemic; women were 35% more likely to do this.
  • 24% said that they shared special solutions offered because of the coronavirus pandemic with others; women were 45% more likely to do this.