Our BLOG

COVID-Driven Habit Shifts Provide Marketing Opportunities

The entire US market is going through a routine-shifting life event due to COVID-19, creating space for smart marketers to meet new consumer needs in unexpected industries.

Research has long told us that old habits die hard. This is an evolutionary benefit - when we internalize actions into habit we go on auto-pilot, saving valuable brain space for greater cognitive tasks. Doing the same daily routines, buying the same brands over and over frees us from constant analysis paralysis. It’s also a huge challenge for marketers trying to nudge people towards new behaviors like, say, buying their product. 

But there are some circumstances in a person’s life when a confluence of events rock old routines so radically that, for a short window, they’re susceptible to change. These moments are rare, and require major shifts in circumstances or environment usually driven by the upheaval of a major life event. Think: Moving. Marriage. Having a baby. A pandemic with widespread national quarantine. 

Over the last 70+ days, Americans have been plunged into this kind of major life event all at once. The majority of us have had to drastically shift our routines as we’ve sheltered in place, no longer commuting, doing school pick-up, going to social gatherings. As the country begins to loosen restrictions, some will revert back into old comfortable routines. But after over 66 days in quarantine - the average time it takes to form a new habit - some of these new routines will have stuck. 

This mass habit shift has huge cultural implications as many of our societal norms are morphing at warp speed. And while the economy has been hit hard, it also opens up a unique window for some brands and businesses to thrive. We’ve already seen this with streaming services, online gaming, grocery delivery, telehealth, and personal protective equipment - industries that have seen growth and will be poised for more post-pandemic. But there are some less obvious behavior shifts taking place that brands can act on now.

 

MORNING ROUTINES

The habit: At-Home Coffee and Breakfast

Before the pandemic, 41% of consumers bought coffee at least once a week at a coffee shop, with 15% going daily, according to Statista. On-the-go breakfast options reigned supreme as people rushed out of the house in the morning - according to the NPD Group, Consumer spending on QSR breakfast items in 2019 was up 31% from five years previously, driven largely by convenience, with a third of consumers ages 18-34 eating weekday breakfasts en route to another location. But with stay-at-home orders in place across the country, these habits are being completely re-written. Just one look at Instagram or TikTok will show how many are experimenting with new at-home coffee routines - posts featuring #QuarantineCoffee and #CoffeeAtHome have gained traction, along with users trying new recipes and formats (Raise your hand if you tried #WhippedCoffee, the trend driving over 1.9B - yes, billion - views on TikTok.) While elaborate recipes like Dalgona may not become everyone’s long-term routine, as more people settle in to working remotely the daily coffee shop run may be a habit of the past.Screen Shot 2020-07-07 at 11.25.43Brands that can meet the need: 

Coffee and breakfast CPG brands that reach consumers now can become part of long term morning routines. QSR brands that lean into at-home product innovation and promotion now will be ahead of the game post-pandemic. 

 

WORK ROUTINES

The Habit: Working from a home office

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, before the pandemic about 7% of people worked from home some or all of the time. Now, everyone who can work remotely is - an estimated 56% of the population according to Global Workplace Analytics. Of course, “working from home” is not just one habit - routines ranging from your morning commute, wake-up time, and what you’re eating for lunch are all dictated by where you work. Work location in general is a major routine driver, but let’s think about it through the lens of the small physical place you inhabit while working. At first consumers were experimenting with working from different places around the house, but as time goes on workers are finding their go-to spot and looking to optimize their space - a place they spend 8+ hours sitting while trying to concentrate and collaborate each day.

Businesses that can meet the need:

Brands that can help people support new work habits and create productive, comfortable work spaces will win. Yes, Staples should be excited right now. But brands with products like noise-cancelling headsets, home office furniture, video conferencing hardware, or even architects and contracting services can find opportunity in this new consumer behavior. By leaning into advertising and targeting those with remote-friendly jobs, these brands can build momentum as people settle into their new home offices. 

 

EXERCISING +  SOCIAL ROUTINES

The Habit: Daily Outdoor Recreation 

In the market for a bicycle this summer? Good luck! If you thought the toilet paper shortage was bad, just try to buy a bike. In March, nationwide sales of bicycles, equipment and repair services nearly doubled compared with the same period last year, according to the NPD Group, with big spikes in leisure, fitness, and children’s bikes. But this isn’t just about biking -  cities across the country have seen a surge in the number of people out walking and running, too. With gyms closed, some people have turned to online workouts - a new habit shift in itself. But many have rediscovered outdoor activities as both a fitness and social ritual. Each evening at 5:30pm in my own town, the once deserted streets are now packed with families on their nightly loop around the block. 

Screen Shot 2020-07-07 at 11.28.39

Businesses that can meet the need:

The outdoor industry, which was already seeing growth heading into the pandemic, has a huge opportunity to encourage and shape these new outdoor habits. Bike brands have already seen boosts, but smart outdoor travel operators and outdoor gear and apparel brands across the board can reap the benefits too. Positioning products as ideal for social distancing activities and leveraging tactics like influencers can help put products to the test, generate creative without studio shoots, and gain traction during the pandemic and beyond. 

Check out the article on Little Black Book Online here: https://www.lbbonline.com/news/the-habit-opportunity-how-brands-can-adapt-to-consumers-shifting-routines

Related Posts

AMPlifier - Social Media Industry Update - Week of Oct. 12, 2020

Welcome to the AMPlifier – a spotlight on the latest and greatest industry updates. Whether you want to learn more about this week’s marketing trends, the newest updates to your favorite social platforms, or simply what meme is currently taking the internet by storm, then read on. You never know what you might learn. FACEBOOK WILL TEST SHOPPING FROM REELS LATER THIS YEAR Instagram only widely launched its TikTok competitor Reels in August, and it’s already looking to monetize the format. The company announced today that it’ll start testing shopping within Reels later this year and will also start making shoppable IGTV videos global starting today. Eventually, these IGTV videos will also be available through Instagram Shop, a dedicated page for shopping within the app. Viewers can just tap through an IGTV video and purchase the items they’re interested in through Instagram checkout or the seller’s website. Learn More COVERING COMMENTS IS INSTAGRAM’S NEWEST ANTI-BULLYING TOOL On Tuesday, Instagram is adding two new tools to its repertoire. First, the platform will automatically hide comments that look like they might constitute bullying even if they aren’t obviously breaking the rules. Second, it will send a new warning message for users whose comments are repeatedly flagged as toxic, in the hope of changing behavior at the onset. Read More FACEBOOK LAUNCHES 'SEASON OF SUPPORT' TO ASSIST SMBS, INCLUDING NEW #BUYBLACKFRIDAY PUSH Facebook has announced a new 'Season of Support' initiative to provide a boost SMBs in the last quarter of the year, which will include free resources, education, and training to help small businesses make the most of the holiday season. Learn More ANTITRUST INVESTIGATION RECOMMENDS MAJOR CHANGES TO FACEBOOK, GOOGLE, APPLE, AND AMAZON After a 16-month investigation, the House Antitrust Subcommittee has found that Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon do hold ‘monopoly power’ over their respective markets, and has proposed significant changes to address how they operate. Read More That’s a wrap on this week’s feed. Stay tuned to see what happens next. 

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 2020

Spanning September 15 - October 15, Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the contributions, history and culture of Hispanic and Latinx communities in the United States. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we wanted to share how some of our AMPers are celebrating and what their heritage means to them. Check out what they had to say below. Shayne Ortiz, Senior Analyst “We are resilient, hardworking, passionate, caring and unified. We have heart, spirit and soul, sabor Latino. We celebrate the importance of family, tradition and most importantly the culture that continues to inspire people outside of the Hispanic/Latinx community generation after generation.”  Michael Mish, SVP, General Manager “I think it’s important for all of us to appreciate where we come from. I’m proud of my Puerto Rican heritage, the family & cultural values instilled in me, and the examples of hard work, strength, sacrifice, dedication and passion that have guided me. The food and music is kind of good too  :)" Sam Cabrera,  Associate Director of Experience “I’m a proud daughter of immigrants from Mexico and Nicaragua. My childhood was spent with my mom’s small family here in the states for every holiday or visiting my grandparents in the summer in Guadalajara, Mx (this picture is of me by the famous cathedral). HHM is a time for me to reflect and celebrate my mixed culture, language, food, family, and music with others.” Jon Bishop, Director of Creative Technology “Family is everything. It doesn’t matter how far or how long we’re apart. My favorite memories are the food, the dancing and visiting la finca in my mom’s hometown in Puerto Rico.” Eva Parlato, Senior Art Director "There are so many things I love about being Puerto Rican, so to celebrate, I try to enjoy things like our delicious food, music, and dancing. When it comes to Puerto Ricans, where there's music playing, there are probably people dancing. And if there isn’t music playing, we'll usually bring it ourselves! Being part of a culture that is so vibrant, warm, and energetic is something I’m very proud of, but my absolute favorite thing is probably the love for dancing!" Gabe Sousa, Junior Creative Technologist  “My favorite thing about being Brazilian is how friendly and welcoming Brazilians naturally are especially when we find each other outside of Brazil” Interested in working at AMP? Check out our careers page for our current openings.

Ken Blake Joins AMP Agency as VP of Analytics

We’re excited to announce that Ken Blake has joined the AMP team as the new VP of Analytics. In his new position, Blake will help elevate the analytic footprint of the agency while working with notable clients, such as Zillow.  Check out what General Manager, Michael Mish had to say about the hire: “Our agency value proposition is grounded in driving growth for our brand partners. Advanced analytics, data science and modelling is an area that AMP will continue to invest in to enable us to identify, recommend and prioritize high value initiatives. We’re excited to welcome Ken to the team”- Michael Mish Here’s what Blake aims to do in his new role on the AMP team:  “We want to continue to enhance the analytics practice at AMP and lead with analytics as a service offering. Many agencies have strong measurement and dashboard capabilities, but fall short with predictive analytics and customer insight. For us, it’s about using data to figure out which customers our clients should invest in, and then applying deep insight to help them better serve those customers.” Prior to joining AMP Agency, Blake was the Senior Director of Customer Analytics at Staples, Where he led a 45 member team.  Want to know more about our newest AMPer? Take a look at these industry publications:  https://adage.com/people-on-the-move/ken-blake  https://www.lbbonline.com/news/former-staples-executive-joins-amp-agency-as-vp-of-analytics  Learn more about AMP Agency’s analytics practice.