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Report: Consumers delay travel plans, purchases, and major life decisions over COVID-19 crisis

Report: Consumers delay travel plans, purchases, and major life decisions over COVID-19 crisis

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Consumer behaviours have noticeably evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic and in response, FleishmanHillard has published a report regarding the current situation. It highlights that consumers have decided to postpone travel plans, intended purchases, and even major life decisions. 

Conducted by FleishmanHillard's in-house research arm TRUE Global Intelligence, the "COVID-19 Mindset: How Pandemic Times Are Shaping Global Consumers" report surveyed 6,566 adults (aged 18 or above) in China, Germany, Italy, South Korea, the UK, and the US. 

According to the survey, 65% of respondents said they had postponed purchases and travel. 52% said they intended to make changes to their buying behaviours to continue. Meanwhile, 34% said they had postponed major life decisions, while about one-fourth (26%) said that following the pandemic, they would take planning for major life decisions more seriously.

As consumers still need access to necessities, respondents to the survey said they were opting for different methods to meet their needs. 71% said they had found ways to continue being patrons of businesses, such as by opting for delivery and pick-up (50%) or holding appointments by phone or online (44%). 

About one-third (34%) of respondents said they would buy things that would not be used immediately, such as gift cards (19%), memberships, and services (17%). 

However, to help organisations that have shown support for their employees, 14% said they were willing to tip more and 9% would pay higher prices. 17% said they would donate to employer-administered funds that support workers. At the same time, 63% of employees wanted new benefits offered during the pandemic to be made permanent.

The current pandemic has also changed what value people ascribe to products and services, with 68% of respondents saying the pandemic had shifted their perception. This phenomenon was even more apparent in China (86%) and Italy (73%). 

“The study shows the bigger the threat, economically and socially, the more important it is to create a foundation of confidence based on accountability, transparency, frequent updates and realistic, incremental goals. Well-structured communications, based on values and actions, can acknowledge the pain and challenges we all face today while helping to improve and even accelerate better outcomes for individuals, organisations and society," said Peter Verrengia, president and senior partner of communications consulting worldwide at FleishmanHillard.

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