Once your business is back to normal, you shouldn’t be too comfortable. There is a lot of uncertainty around the corner thanks to the Covid-19 Delta variant.
That is according to recent marketing research conducted by the NPD Group on consumer behavior in the US. While a third of respondents say they have had more personal experiences in the past three months, such as dining out or attending sporting events, movies, and gatherings with friends, the report points out that Delta’s increasing spread is impacting how long. those habits last. Many companies are also postponing reopening. Facebook recently pushed the reopening from October 2021 to January 2022, and a new meme mocking how fall plans will be ruined of Delta has gone viral in recent days.
“These disruptions underscore the importance of not anticipating market activity, but rather responding flexibly to them,” Marshal Cohen, chief retail advisor for NPD, said in a press release.
The uncertainty could lead to a holiday shopping season with unpredictable consumer comforts around safety and personal shopping. “The uncertainty surrounding the Delta variant has made the timing and nature of what consumers buy, and where and how they shop more ambiguous,” said Cohen.
Even taking into account the increased comfort around in-person gatherings this summer, only 10 percent of consumers say they plan to give more experiences — concert tickets, vacations, spa certificates — and fewer tangible gifts this holiday season. But there’s room to change that attitude, as only one in five U.S. consumers have already started shopping for the holiday season in July, while 28 percent haven’t even started thinking about their Christmas shopping, according to the NPD report.