One of the largest lifestyle changes to occur during the pandemic period has been the shift away from working at an office to work from home. This has proved a difficult transition for many; though others have welcomed the additional time they are saving from not having a daily commute and the opportunity to perform other tasks or hobbies.

This realisation has inspired many to want to continue to work from home post-pandemic, which will drastically alter how consumers shop, as well as the products and services they engage with.

Brands need to develop online offerings

Almost a third (31%) of global consumers have said they will continue to work from home rather than go to an office after the pandemic period, a sentiment which is highest among the millennial generation, according to GlobalData’s Covid-19 recovery tracker (published 1 July). This highlights a significant opportunity for brands to understand the behaviour of this cohort to target their newfound needs and preferences.

For example, the desire to buy more items online rather than visiting a store is a preference felt more strongly by these consumers, with 65% agreeing with this statement compared with the global average of 45%.

E-commerce and online delivery services will continue to be used strongly post-pandemic by this cohort to both enhance convenience as well as to reduce unnecessary trips outside of the home, creating an opportunity for brands to further develop their online offerings both on traditional websites and smartphone applications.

Work from home gives advantage to direct-to-consumer channels

PepsiCo recognized this opportunity early on and launched two new direct-to-consumer channels, pantryshop.com, and snacks.com. The former offers “pantry kits” tailored to snacking, hydration, and the workout occasion, while the latter offers “snack packs” in categories such as snacking and hydration.

The willingness of this cohort to cook more meals at home is also apparent, driven by price-consciousness as well as risk-aversion, since consumers are likely to remain cautious and avoid food cooked outside of the home even after the pandemic.

This is evident in that 78% of these consumers have said they will cook more meals at home, compared with the global average of 62%. Opportunity exists for brands to target this behavior with affordable meal kit solutions, or to provide recipe inspiration online to promote its range of products.

Consumer engagement increases brand reach

Barilla, the world’s largest pasta producer, started a social media campaign, #athomewithbarilla, inspiring consumers with recipe ideas using their products, as well as encouraging consumers to post pictures of their creations online. This is not only a creative way to provide helpful tips and advice, but a strategy to engage with consumers and expand brand reach online.

As firms begin to realise the benefits of supporting a home-office culture even beyond the pandemic, opportunities for brands to engage with consumers’ new found behavior spouting from this lifestyle change will only amplify.

Now is the time for brands to explore ways to reach and engage with consumers under these new circumstances to maintain consumer loyalty and reputation in the long-term.

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