How The Coronavirus Will Shape Buyer Behavior – 3 Predictions

You will most likely get the coronavirus. At least, that’s what Harvard’s epidemiology professor, Marc Lipsitch, believes. Because most cases are not life-threatening and sometimes cause no symptoms at all, the virus is especially hard to contain. The emerging consensus among epidemiologists is that the coronavirus will become a new seasonal disease like the cold and flu. 

In less than seven weeks, the virus has infected nearly 100,000 people. Individuals, businesses, stock markets, supply chains, and the economy worldwide are trying to digest what’s happening. 

Certain sectors are feeling the hardest hit, like manufacturing and travel. Retailers have temporarily closed locations. Apple, Mastercard, and United Airlines, among dozens of other companies, have announced that the virus will hurt profits. 

So how can we, in the promotional products industry, provide a helpful hand while keeping our businesses generating revenue? 

Rather than keeling over in a panic, let’s take a step back and look at how the coronavirus will influence businesses and consumers. Below, we’ll walk you through three predictions of how the coronavirus will change behavior in the near future.

People Will Stay Home

For now, American schools and offices are open. That will most likely change at some point in the future. Worldwide, the coronavirus has disrupted nearly 300 million children. Italian schools are closed, India’s capital suspended classes, and the United States has already had warnings of closures. 

Conferences and trade shows all over the world are being canceled on account of the coronavirus and the associated travel restrictions. Companies are turning to virtual summits and video conferences in an attempt to substitute in a solution.

31 of the largest global companies, including Twitter and Amazon, are encouraging their employees to work remotely. People are avoiding crowded places as the coronavirus spreads. They’re eating at home more, skipping the gym, and choosing in-home relaxation over destination entertainment.

However, the world won’t stop turning. We can’t stop living our lives. Even people on quarantine need to work, eat, exercise, relax, and entertain themselves (probably more than ever). How can you help customers be the hero? Get creative and think about what people need when they’re stuck at home and arm your customers with these ideas. 

Exercise equipment, yoga mats, cooking tools, electronic accessories, and relaxation products are just a few potential items everyone stuck at home will need to stay productive, fit, and sane. 

People Will Choose To Drive Instead Of Fly

Spring break isn’t canceled. People still want to hit the beach and enjoy some time away from work, school, and worry. What will change, however, is how people travel. 

Airlines are getting hit hard. According to the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), airlines in Asia-Pacific may lose $113 billion in revenue from the outbreak. Fear over the virus has started to flood into the US travel market as well. On March 4, United Airlines announced a widespread cut to domestic service

Instead of filing into airports, spring breakers will be loading into cars and traveling south for warmer weather. Beach towels, hats, umbrellas, coolers, frisbees, and footballs will still go with them. Shifting from flights to cars just means everyone has a little more room for those perfectly planned promotional products. 

Here are a few ideas to get your juices flowing:

  • Electronic Accessories – Auxiliary chords, car chargers, cigarette lighter power converters, phone mounts, bluetooth speakers, noise machines, and earphones are a few potentials. Customize the Hirsch Gift 2020 ZOOMcatalog to share with customers
  • Packing & Travel Items – Backpacks, suitcases, toiletry bags, iPad cases, car carriers, neck pillows, earplugs, and eye masks are all useful items. Browse the travel section of Gemline’s 2020 Spring Lookbook
  • Beverage Essentials – You can’t take a road trip without a cooler (especially if you’re headed to the beach). A few other items include water bottles, can coolers, tumblers, and thermoses. Customize the Glass America Drinkware ZOOMcatalog as your own.
  • Road Trip Must-Haves – Tire pressure gauges, tire-patch kits, tire inflators, jumper cables, and first aid kits are all items every road-tripping family should be packing. The Redi-Medic ZOOMcatalog features many first aid and safety products

People Will Be Obsessed With Hygiene And Health

The best way to prevent spreading the coronavirus is simple: keep good hygiene. We’ve received repeated instruction to wash hands for at least 20 seconds frequently, cover your face when you sneeze and cough, and keep commonly used surfaces sanitized. 

The public’s response to the virus has taken this advice to an extreme. The coronavirus has already had a dramatic influence on what consumers are buying. For weeks, Pharmacies have had low supplies of or are out of medical masks and hand sanitizer. This extreme buying trend has put hospitals and health care workers in a hard spot.

Let’s not add to the problem by cleaning out the remaining supply of hand sanitizer to make a few bucks. This is one of those times that we can be part of the solution, not the problem. 

How exactly can we be part of the solution? We can help people build a stronger immune system. Dehydration and stress wreak havoc on the body’s natural defenses. These also happen to be two areas where promotional products can play a key role. 

Water bottles, eye masks, pillows, essential oils, detoxing bath bombs, noise machines, and aromatherapy diffusers are just a few items that immediately come to mind for curbing dehydration and stress.

Keep Calm and Carry On

We’re in a unique moment of uncertainty and worry. The coronavirus epidemic has spread rapidly and it’s hard to predict its impact on the economy and society. Look out for those who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus, don’t panic, and keep a good head on your shoulders. With some effort and awareness, you can take steps to protect yourself, others, and your business.