All signs indicate the country’s economic engine is roaring back to life. Summer’s almost here. The CDC guidance suggests we can drop our masks a bit more. More than half of the country has been vaccinated. And infection rates are down and dropping. Brighter days really are ahead!
Yet, the optimism is hardly unbridled. Concerns over future price increases and the need to recover from the damage — financial and otherwise — of 2020 have kept caution firmly in the “cautiously optimistic” outlook for most consumers. In our new report, the 2021 Consumer Optimism Outlook, we have documented how consumers might articulate these feelings.
While excitement may be a bit more nuanced for a lot of the shopping public, the current confluence of events and opportunities should make marketers among the most optimistic demographic.
Not convinced? Here are seven specific reasons why marketers should be super optimistic right now:
1. People love all of the buying options
In 2020, many U.S. consumers had their first experiences with e-commerce — such as home delivery, buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS), and curbside delivery — and found it was pretty great. Now that they realize the convenience and choices retailers and brands provided, consumers fully expect to continue to use them. However, it’s hardly the death knell of the retail store. Even in the spring of ’21, when people were reticent to go out very much, shopping was the least impacted activity.1 In fact, our research found that nearly half of shoppers are comfortable shopping inside stores, a number that’s clearly going to grow.1 The net result may well be an overall increase in all types of commerce, which should put a smile on marketers’ faces.
2. We all want save money while getting what we need
Nearly half of consumers we surveyed told us that their household income was negatively impacted last year.1 That made tight budgets and practical purchases very much a reality. But consumers still wanted to improve their lives through self- and family-care. But alongside of this, nearly three-fourths of consumers increased saving behaviors while over 80% plan to continue those behaviors after all of this is over.1 For marketers, that means offering deals, coupons, and other promotions will be even more important (and effective) than ever.
3. Local businesses really matter
Consumers are thinking local: When it comes to advertising, 70% of consumers are interested in supporting local businesses generally and 69% are interested in supporting local restaurants specifically.1 That presents a real opportunity to meet this demand to show neighborhood retailers and restaurants some love.
4. Restaurants are back on the menu
While most consumers are still a little nervous about going out to eat, our survey data found that nearly half of restaurant-goers are fully comfortable dining outdoors.1 With warm weather here to stay a while, restaurants can create welcoming and comfortable environments for people to enjoy on outdoor experience. And as the situation continues to evolve throughout the summer and fall, more folks are bound to be excited to stay on premise to eat and drink.
5. People have fallen in love with their homes
Lockdowns and stay-home-orders (and the reason behind them in 2020) are never fun. On the bright side, our new research found that 63% of consumers are content staying at home more.1 This opens windows of opportunity for reaching consumers in relevant ways: Direct mail puts your message directly in their hands and Connected TV (CTV) ensures that you stay top-of-mind as they stream more.
6. TV advertising is better and smarter
With people at home more, they did a whole lot more streaming. For example, a survey we conducted showed CTV to be gaining in importance, relevance, and influence with consumers. In fact, nearly 70% of 35- to 44-year-olds considered products advertised on streaming TV services to be more relevant to them than what they see on traditional cable. But most telling of all is that more than a third of consumers admitted to making a purchase based on seeing a CTV ad.
7. People love getting their mail
Our love for our homes has also made the mailbox an even more prominent way to connect with consumers. Our research shows that one third of consumers really looked forward to seeing what was in the mailbox every day, and more than two-thirds are using coupons they get in the mail as they make purchases.2 That’s to say nothing of direct mail’s natural power to hold attention longer, elicit a stronger emotional response, and produce greater desire than its digital cousins. The bottom line is that marketers have a tried-and-true tactic that is getting even more engagement than ever.
To learn more about how consumers are feeling in this new, post-pandemic economy, download the 2021 Consumer Optimism Outlook: “Consumer Insights for a New Normal,” and sign up to receive future insights into the mind of the modern consumer.
1 2021 Consumer Optimism Outlook
2 2020 Consumer Intel Report