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How COVID-19 Is Changing Consumer Behavior And Why UX Design Matters

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The COVID-19 pandemic brought most economies to a halt in 2020. Businesses scrambled for survival, and many realized that having an online presence is crucial. The pandemic has sent the global population indoor and leads to changing consumer behavior. 

Consumers spend more time online purchasing necessities online than visiting a physical store. According to consumer behavior statistics, 37% of the US population expected to spend more on online retailers like Amazon and Walmart due to the pandemic’s effect. 

There’s no doubt that businesses are facing unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, if they are optimizing their website or app’s UX experience, they stand to gain from the increased numbers of online shoppers

This article takes you through the relationship between UX and consumer behavior and how to leverage them for your e-commerce business in 2021. 

What Is Consumer Behavior And Why Is It Important?

Consumer behavior refers to the process that an individual goes through when purchasing a product. Many factors motivate a consumer in his/her purchasing decision, and these factors evolve as time passes.

Various factors can dictate a consumer’s motivation to buy. The demographic such as age, gender, occupation, and location, can influence how the consumer shops. Consumers are also driven by psychological and social factors when purchasing products.

changing consumer behavior


While consumers are usually driven by individualistic values, they can be forced to adopt a new behavior in certain circumstances. What has changed since COVID-19 is that certain products’ sales suffered while others thrive as the consumer’s priority shifted.

However, the importance of consumer behavior in dictating how they buy remains the same. Some consumers are still driven by impulse buying, while others follow the rational logic of Maslow’s hierarchy. Complex buying behavior like buying a house remains a process that requires thorough considerations.

If you’re running an e-commerce business, you’ll need to spend time understanding why consumer behavior is important. For a start, it helps you to identify why you have visitors to your website but has low conversion. Are you targeting the right shopper with the correct products? 

Part of the solution for a higher conversion rate is to understand what the shoppers are looking for. In short, you’ll want to identify their pain points and study how their purchasing behavior is key to that. You’ll get insights into why consumers are attracted or repelled by certain products or services. 

How UX Influences User Behavior

With more consumers shifting to the internet for their shopping needs, more businesses are launching e-commerce websites and apps. This development throws a new equation into the spotlight, one of how user behavior and UX are interconnected.

As mentioned, user behavior describes the motivation that influences a purchaser’s decision. Meanwhile, UX has much to do with the purchasers’ emotions when they navigate through the e-commerce app. UX, which stands for user experience, is a pivotal factor influencing a user’s behavior in split seconds. 

It is essential to understand what UX is not, as there are some confusions amongst non-developers. UX is not about the fancy graphics or the animation that you’ve invested so much money on. Instead, UX describes the ease of usage of the app, and it’s about getting consumers to what they are looking for with little hassle.

Imagine that you’ve built a stunning e-commerce store for sporting goods. The graphics are perfect, and you’ll have the different items categorized according to the sports. Yet, you’ve neglected technical issues like site speed and forgotten to include a search bar. As a result, users struggled with the loading time and cannot quickly search for a product.

The above example is what bad UX is all about. 

changing consumer behavior

Incorporating good UX practices in an app design has much to do with psychology. There are many elements involved in a consumer’s thought process when shopping for a product. Consumers wanted to find what they’re looking for from the store, but they also wanted to do that in a pleasant, efficient manner.

Even the tinier details in UX can affect consumer experience on the app. The choice of colors, typography, and size can subconsciously affect the cognitive perception of consumers. The steps it takes to order a product successfully are also pivotal to consumer satisfaction. 

You should pay attention to UX design more than ever due to how consumer behavior has changed since COVID-19. And this brings us to the next section. 

COVID-19 Impact On Mobile User Behavior

The lockdowns and strict restrictions around the world have sent billions of people indoors. Not only does it increase mobile usage, but it also changes how people interact on the internet. 

Robbed of their freedom of movement, mobile users turn to the internet to satisfy many of their needs and wants. In early 2020, an app little known to the public has shot to internet stardom as people have no choice but to work from home. It is none other than Zoom.

Not only are people turning their home into a workplace, but they are shopping, watching movies, relaxing, taking courses, working out, and more without leaving their doorsteps. Their gateway to these different activities is often the mobile phone.

With so much going on, mobile users inevitably experience a change in their behavior. They turned to video call apps to connect with their loved ones and friends. Users seek emotional support through meditation apps and online self-help courses.

The COVID-19 has shuttered cinemas, theme parks, and entertainment outlets, leaving the people to get creative in seeking in-house entertainment. Live streaming apps have become a hit, Netflix has a surge in subscribers, and mobile game downloads reached a new height.

Even school-goers are not spared as COVID-19 tears through nations. Online learning becomes the norm in places where schools are forced to close. Children turn to apps like Google Classroom and Meet to catch up with the education syllabus. 

While mobile technology helps users cope with the pandemic, it also causes them to be more distracted than ever. Ads are popping up anywhere on the screen as retailers are hoping to grab their buyers’ attention. 

Covid -19 is changing consumer behavior. It’s fair to say that mobile users are more driven by their emotions during these testing times. Whether it’s shopping online, entertainment, work, or seeking information, logic often gives way to the stressful feelings of being confined at home. 

changing consumer behavior

Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a seismic shift in consumer behaviors and has sped up the digitization of businesses. It propels the UX element to the fore and highlights its importance in engaging customers and increasing conversion. 

Retailers hoping to survive and thrive in the pandemic era must understand the changing consumer behaviors and prioritize UX design in websites and apps.

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