CACI director of location analytics Chris Thompson has outlined how consumer behaviour towards brand and place has accelerated under the pressure of the pandemic.

Thompson told attendees at MCA’s Restaurant Conference that on the premise it takes 66 days to form a new habit, and with the UK having been under some form of moderated behaviour now for over 300 days, consumer behaviour “moved forward five years in the first two weeks of April”.

Over the last ten months, the marketing and data specialist group tracked consumer attitudes through a range of surveys, and Thompson revealed there were seven key recurring trends.

Drive for value, a breakdown in the digital divide, death of transaction channel and flexible working were among consistent shifts impacting consumer behaviour. However, across surveys from July to October last year, consumer concerns for safety and convenience came out as the top two trends, something Thompson argued could show their indirect link.

“If people are concerned about safety, they’re also going to be limiting their movement, which means convenience becomes a priority,” he said.

And according to data from CACI’s mobility tracker, consumer attitudes to movement and place have also been heavily determined by demographic.

The tracker revealed that consumers with ‘lavish lifestyles’ – the most affluent demographic – were the least likely to commute to work, whilst those in the ‘rising prosperity’ category were willing to travel the furthest for the pub.

Consumers in ‘comfortable communities’ were the least likely to travel for shopping, and the ‘financially stretched’ are least likely to travel for socialising.

“The point I want to address here is that we need to start moving away from more national trends and focus on the consumers that are most important to us and our brands,” Thompson explained. “Brands need to tailor the offer to suit to suit its consumers’ needs.

“Brands and places now need to rethink how they connect with consumers, whether it’s through acquisitions, marketing, engagement or delivery.

“The role of brand and place has permanently changed.”

To watch all the footage from the event please click here.

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