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Small Business Owners Can Take Advantage of Shifting Shopping Trends Occasioned by the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • SCORE analysis looks at how shopping trends have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Many shifts, such as using a new shopping method or trying a new brand, are likely to be permanent
  • Consumers show more support for issues such as shopping local, environmental sustainability, and social awareness

Broad shifts in consumer behavior have opened new opportunities to business owners, according to a recent analysis from SCORE. The organization found that many consumers are planning to continue shopping trends they adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also putting greater emphasis on factors such as finding affordable goods and shopping local.

SCORE found that 53 percent of consumers changed their shopping trends during the pandemic, with 73 percent trying new shopping behavior. People were most likely to try a new shopping method, such as curbside pickup or using a delivery app, with 34 percent doing so. One in three tried a different brand, while 29 percent bought from a different retailer, store, or website.

These shifts had staying power. Seventy-nine percent who tried a new shopping method intend to continue using it after the pandemic, along with 79 percent who used a different brand and 75 percent who tried a different business.

Affordability was a top consumer priority, with 32 percent placing importance on this factor. One in four said health was their top priority, followed by 16 percent who said environmental considerations took precedence and 15 percent who said social awareness was most important to them.

SCORE expects that consumer use of online channels will grow substantially in many sectors, nearly doubling after the pandemic in areas such as accessories, skincare and makeup, and household supplies. The analysis also found greater support for local businesses across all generations, with Generation Z the most prominent in voicing support for shopping at Black-owned businesses.

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