McKinsey & Company recently released the latest version of its U.S. Consumer Pulse Report, offering a carefully researched view of how consumer behaviors have changed after the worst of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers weathered the shock of a sudden digital transformation of consumer culture, cast aside their brand loyalties, and engaged with new and different ways of buying and selling. Jiamei Bai, Associate Partner at McKinsey, recently discussed the report at a Fast Company Impact Council event.
Bai shared the latest proprietary insights from McKinsey’s report, discussing subjects from the potential impact of the metaverse on consumer behaviors to how brands can benefit from shifting loyalties as they seek to drive business growth, sustain customer loyalty, and deepen their engagement with consumers.
Beyond the need for a company’s product to resonate with consumers, ESG is taking a growing role in how customers view a brand’s authenticity and values, with 57% of consumers overall—and 66% of millennial and Gen Z consumers—saying that environmental, social, and governance issues are “very important” factors in how they decide on purchases.
The sudden shift to remote work and public health lockdowns has led to a dramatic uptick in spending on home-centric goods like furniture, home improvement projects, and electronics. While many employers are attempting to push their personnel back into the office, there are still a substantial number of people continuing to work from home, and consumers overall are still spending on home-focused items, with spending on home improvement remaining 11% higher than it was pre-pandemic, even after adjusting for inflation.
Consumers are also growing increasingly aware of the metaverse, with McKinsey’s latest research showing that nearly 60% of consumers are excited about the transition of everyday activities to the metaverse, and 61% of business leaders expecting the metaverse to shift the way their industry operates.
“We’re still in the first wave of consumer engagement with the metaverse, but I think we’ve already seen some lessons emerge and pathways of success,” said Bai. “Today’s digitally savvy consumers are extending their experiences and activities into the metaverse, and brands have to evolve their interaction models accordingly.”
Though the pandemic is still ongoing, as public health and supply chains continue to stabilize, consumers are taking a fresh look at what they buy, how they buy it, and how they interact with the companies selling to them. Businesses looking to keep up with the changes can take advantage of these new insights as they deepen their engagement with their markets.