What will be ‘the next normal’ for businesses?

woman at shop front in mask

As the COVID-19 vaccine starts its slow but steady roll-out around the globe, businesses must now come to terms with a future very different to the one they conceptualised at the start of 2020. As uncertainty persists in every visible sector of the economy, the way consumers respond and adapt to the crisis varies significantly. Consequently, marketers around the globe are now preparing to navigate through this period for their brand and the consumers they serve.

Digital businesses are thriving

During the global pandemic, retailers big and small have been forced to set up or enhance their online presence. Brands that have invested in online channels – e.g. building a website, utilising social media, setting up ecommerce or using new technologies such as livestreaming – are now seeing the payoff. Customer shopping behaviour has been completely altered, with a smooth, self-sufficient online experience becoming the number one priority..

Offering some sort of online component to your business, whatever it is, will help ensure longevity for your business. With some industries plunged by 60 to 80 percent in 2020 getting ahead is vital.

Digital advertising spends are plummeting

What was projected at the start of the lockdown has come to life: Brands slashed their advertising spendings in 2020, to the tune of a huge $50 billion globally, an 8.1% decline from 2019. It is anticipated that almost all product categories will have recorded a plunge in ad investment in 2020 due to the economic downturn.


For industries like leisure and entertainment, these cuts are linked to lockdown restrictions or the revenue collapse happening in the travel industry.  Other businesses are keeping their spending slow, choosing to play it safe amid these uncertain periods. Others are battling for survival and have simply no other choice but to cut out their ad spend so as to keep the business afloat, in some cases for up to a year.

SEO surges in importance

In light of the COVID-19 crisis and economic turbulence, marketers are trying to boost business exposure with lower budgets. Investment in digital marketing and SEO are top of mind when it comes to cutting back in high-cost areas like paid media and ads.

A recent report by Conductor on the impact of COVID-19 on the marketing sector has revealed that around two out of three of Marketers predict that SEO will become more important during this time. Over a half of those interviewed said that they would lower their budgets due to the economic impacts of the pandemic, and as a result, investment in low-cost channels like SEO is one of the top priorities.

Choosing convenience over brand loyalty

Customer loyalty is one of the most crucial factors when it comes to maintaining a business. However, in the midst of a pandemic, consumers across the globe have responded to the uncertainty of the crisis and its associated disruptions by trying different shopping behaviours. In fact, 60% of consumers have changed their buying behaviours for the sake of convenience due to COVID-19.

Given consumers’ price sensitivity, value remains the primary driver for consumers to try out new brands and businesses. Convenience and availability are the next most quoted reasons for decisions about where to shop, while quality and purpose are the more important considerations when choosing to go forward with their purchases.

This highlights the importance of offering competent services and solutions that can offer your customers peace of mind, namely online pick-up, flexible payment options, free shipping, and many more.



In the coming months, the only thing that we can be certain of is that things will not go back to the way they were before. Marketers and business owners will have to actively monitor trends and indicators, and be willing to commit to bold changes to stay relevant and successful in today’s market.