Post-Pandemic Shifts in Consumer Shopping Habits: Authenticity, Personalization and the Power of UGC

After over a year of stay-at-home orders and social distancing due to COVID-19, the way consumers around the world shop and interact with brands has forever changed.

The already-growing consumer shift towards eCommerce accelerated, while in-person social activities massively moved to video chats and social media platforms. In the last year, online shopping and the average time spent on social networks reached all-time highs.

With more product inspiration and shopping taking place online, brands are now competing for attention in an endless sea of digital ads and eCommerce stores. But are these new consumer habits here to stay? And how will they impact long-term online shopping trends?

After surveying 2,042 consumers across the U.S., UK and Australia, it’s clear that consumers crave more personalized and authentic shopping experiences. Not only are pandemic shopping and social trends here to stay, but they are also making real and relevant content—like user-generated content (UGC)—more important than ever for brands to leverage.


Key Findings

  • 88% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support (with 50% saying it’s very important)
  • 83% of consumers believe retailers need to provide more authentic shopping experiences to customers like them
  • 70% say it’s important for brands to provide personalized experiences
  • 67% of people say their online purchasing has increased since the start of the pandemic, with 91% likely to continue purchasing more items online in the future
  • 72% of consumers say the amount of time they spend on social media has increased since the pandemic started
  • 56% of consumers say they’re more influenced by images and videos from social media when online shopping now than they were before the pandemic
  • 79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions, while a mere 9% said influencer content impacts their purchases
  • 72% of consumers say real customer photos and videos are the content they most want to see on eCommerce sites when making purchasing decisions
  • 80% of consumers say they’d be more likely to purchase a product from an online store if its website had photos and videos from real customers
  • 58% of consumers have left an eCommerce store without purchasing because the site didn’t contain any customer reviews or photos (64% of Gen Z)

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