The COVID-19 pandemic has driven consumers online, putting stress on ecommerce, email marketing and many other business systems.
But only 32% of firms have made the operational adjustments to meet such demands, according to findings announced on Wednesday by Experian.
In addition, beleaguered consumers are bracing for an anticipated second wave of COVID-19, the study notes.
The global research was conducted in June and July, and may not reflect current conditions, but it offers a snapshot of global pressures on businesses and individuals.
On the positive side, half of consumers say they will increase their online transactions over the next 12 months. And two-thirds will remain loyal to brands they liked prior to the pandemic.
This is also documented in a 20% boost in online transactions, including increases in these digital activities:
- Grocery shopping — 41%
- Applying for loans — 40%
- Food delivery/takeout — 22%
On the downside, 65% worldwide believe their nation has not recovered economically from the pandemic.
Moreover, 30% of consumers have seen a decline in household income, with 43% in India saying so — the high among nations. And globally, the number of people who are having trouble paying their bills has doubled.
For their part, 53% of businesses say their processes have mostly or completely recovered from pandemic stress, with the United States most confident at 80%. Germany is the least confident, with only 27% saying they are upbeat.
However, 20% of firms lack confidence about their credit risk and collection decisions in the advent of COVID-19.
Moving forward, 60% of businesses plan to invest more in analytics and credit risk management. The UK, U.S., Australia, and Spain have already seen increases in AI and advanced analytics.
And the are seeking data — 51% are asking consumers for more information, and 49% are looking for new or alternative data sources.
Brands will have to integrate those data flows into triggered emails that reflect the behavior and interests of shoppers. And here’s a clue to how to proceed: 41% of customers would give more business to firms that treated them fairly during the pandemic.
COVID-19 has brought businesses and consumers together “in ways we’ve never seen before” states Steve Wagner, global managing director of decision analytics for Experian. And this trend that will most likely as economies recover, Wagner adds.
But Wagner warns that this requires sustainable business operations, including “safe, accessible and convenient digital experiences.”
Experian interviewed 3,000 consumers and 900 businesses in 10 countries, including Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Japan, Singapore, Spain, the U.S., and the U.K.