Rapid tests are not the only thing German consumers have bought during the pandemic. A new study by Emarsys on purchasing behavior shows that more than half of those surveyed have bought products that they would probably not have bought had it not been for the Corona crisis.
To better understand consumer buying behavior during the pandemic, Emarsys, a provider of marketing analytics solutions, examined buying motives. It turned out that 35 percent of those surveyed made purchases because they wanted to keep themselves busy. 29% each said they needed a mood booster during lockdown or bought something to lift them up during this uncertain time. Another reason for purchases was that consumers wanted to try new activities during the extra free time in lockdown (11 percent).
Purchasing behavior: Germans focus on fitness, comfort and new hobbies
Fitness equipment has been among the most popular products during the pandemic, led by fitness bikes (20 percent), yoga mats (17 percent), free weights (15 percent) and treadmills (13 percent). Other purchases included painting equipment (29 percent), sweatpants (27 percent), jigsaw puzzles (19 percent), board games (17 percent), and robot vacuum cleaners (15 percent). Arguably the more unusual things include wearable blankets (18 percent), trampolines (4 percent), hot tubs (4 percent), home tattoo kits (3 percent), and llama sponsorships (1.4 percent). On average, Germans spent 40 euros on wearable blankets, 42 euros on jogging pants, 100 euros on trampolines and 162 euros on tattoo kits. They invested 230 euros in sponsorships, 252 euros in fitness bikes and 297 euros in a whirlpool.
Buying behavior – characterized by rewards and self-optimization
“Immediate reward and the desire for self-improvement have undeniably influenced consumer shopping habits in 2021,” said Philip Nowak, General Manager Central & Southern Europe at Emarsys. “As we enter the third year of COVID-19, it is critical for retailers to understand that consumer behavior and expectations are changing, both in terms of the products they buy and the experiences they engage in online and want in store.” 69 percent of respondents said their lockdown purchases have changed their lives in the long run. This refers to changes in terms of wearing comfortable clothes more often or exercising more regularly. Only 13 percent of Germans no longer use their purchases regularly or not at all.
What the results mean for 2022
With a desire to restore a sense of normality, almost half (45 percent) of German consumers want to spend more money on social activities such as dining out and vacations in 2022. At 17 percent, jogging pants are still very popular with Germans. In addition, twelve percent of those surveyed would like to make their household chores easier with a vacuum cleaner robot. They also spend money on new pets (nine percent), knife sets (nine percent) and sports equipment such as fitness bikes (7.4 percent) or treadmills (7.2 percent). One of the largest planned purchases for 2022 is a new home (6.4 percent). When it comes to consumer expectations for retail this year, almost half (46.3 percent) of respondents are hoping for great deals and bargains, while 31 percent want a seamless shopping experience both online and in-store.
Digital relationship between retailers and customers
Interestingly, just one in four respondents (26 percent) plan to shop more in stores this year, meaning all eyes are on the digital relationship between retailers and customers. Ensuring online interactions are meaningful, personalized, and contextually interesting is critical to delivering the best customer experience. However, in order to also take the preferences of other customers into account, retailers in stationary trade should increasingly focus on more appealing and entertaining experiences, as 24 percent of German consumers want this in 2022. The survey also revealed that 42 percent of respondents prefer email as a method of contact, while 22.4 percent prefer to be contacted via social media. Only 3.6 percent still want to receive an SMS message.