Is the desire to stay home here to stay? The pandemic and lockdowns were the catalysts that forced a large percentage of the population to do more from home than ever before. People were not only working from home; they were also shopping, exercising, eating, and consuming their entertainment from home as well.
As people spent more time at home, they sought ways to make the best use of their space and make their space more enjoyable. Now, despite restrictions lifting and a wave of businesses reopening, it appears that the time consumers spent at home created fundamental differences in consumer behaviors.
The homebody economy is changing what consumers value, particularly revolving around brand loyalty and expectations concerning convenience and customer service. It’s important for companies to learn how to leverage this shift in consumer behavior by demonstrating value, convenience and availability.
Where did the term “homebody economy” originate?
In 2018 a Vox writer coined the phrase ‘homebody economy’ to describe a growing millennial market who chose to spend their discretionary income on their homes. Due to the pandemic in 2020, the phrase has expanded to also include a general shift towards purchases and investments focused on home-based working and living.
The Homebody Economy is Led by the Homebody Consumer
Initially, remote working allowed businesses to pivot their operations, and while the change to living more of our lives at home was sudden, now it appears that many consumers are enjoying this new normal. Over the past year, the home has become where consumers work, eat, play, and connect with friends and family.
Although the term ‘homebody economy’ had been coined previously, the reality of more workers being home for greater periods of time greatly spurred this new shift to how consumers are spending their money. Home renovation projects, home improvements, at-home cooking and home goods have all seen sustained spending growth over the last year.
It isn’t just what consumers are choosing to spend their money on that businesses need to pay attention to; it’s the underlying shift of how consumers perceive value and what expectations they now have of companies. At the heart of the new homebody economy is the homebody consumer.
How to Leverage Changes in Consumer Behavior
Companies need to know that in the homebody economy, what customers perceive as value is changing. Now more than ever, value is often tied to an organization’s ability to provide a positive customer experience from start to finish. According to a recent consumer study, over 90 percent of consumers are willing to leave a business over poor customer service. That same study points out that because these consumers have experience with businesses that routinely provide them with excellent customer service, that’s where they’ve set the bar for their expectations. When they encounter a business with poor customer service, even if it’s in a different industry, they will still be comparing the levels of service they received
With consumer experience being a key differentiating factor in the decision-making process, it’s essential that businesses live up to these expectations. Whether they are shopping online, by telephone, or in person, consumers are expecting businesses to provide them with a seamless and cohesive experience, one that allows them to effortlessly pick up where they left off, regardless of the varying or changing methods used to reach your business.
Consumers also are expecting better online experiences. In fact, according to research from Salesforce, the pandemic has increased consumers’ expectations of a brand’s online capabilities. Post-pandemic consumers expect social media buying, personalized experiences and readily accessible customer care.
Convenience is a top priority for the homebody consumer and for businesses, which frequently translates to a convenient online shopping experience. Consumers want easy access across all of their devices without interruption.
Particularly at the start of the pandemic, supply chain disruptions meant that some consumers could not find their preferred products, either online or in stores. As supply chain shortages continue to be a challenge, consumers are still adjusting their behavior, switching between brands or retailers in a search for item availability.
In the face of longer shipping times and delays across logistics networks, businesses can take proactive steps, including early planning, ordering more inventory than usual, and buying Made in USA products. While changing brand loyalty may be concerning to companies, it can also be seen as an opportunity for a business to create a memorable experience with a new consumer. To get and keep new consumers, companies also need to work to differentiate what makes their business unique in the marketplace.
Consumers became accustomed to the everything-from-home lifestyle and realized the benefits it offered. Now, even as businesses are open in greater capacities, the demand for the homebody economy is continuing, and companies must continue adapting.
At Safeguard, we know that, with the right products, services, and advice, your business can be even more successful moving forward. Your local advisor can help you be confident in the days ahead with a personalized strategy to fit your business. Call 855.778.3124 to get started.
- The homebody economy is changing what consumers value.
- The homebody economy shifted what expectations they have of companies.
- Companies can leverage this shift in consumer behavior by demonstrating value, convenience, and availability.
- Even as businesses reopen, the demand from consumers for the homebody economy is continuing.
- With the right products, services, and advice, your local Safeguard Advisor can help you be confident in the days ahead.