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September 2020

Pandemic Likely to Usher in ‘Decade of the Home,’ Says Accenture

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People's refocus on their local community in light of the COVID-19 pandemic will be long-term, bringing about the "decade of the home" and forcing retailers and consumer goods companies to tailor their products and services to drive a more local experience, according to findings of a recent global survey from Accenture.

The continuing discomfort with public spaces and travel, coupled with growing financial fears amid widespread decline in household income, will continue to keep people mostly at home, according to a survey of more than 8,800 people in 20 countries.

Among the key findings of the survey:

  • 69% of respondents expect to do most of their socializing over the next six months either in their home, a friend's home or virtually.
  • 53% of people who never worked from home previously now plan to work from home more often in the future.
  • 56% of consumers said that the pandemic has caused them to shop in closer neighborhood stores, with 79% of those respondents saying they plan to continue to do so long-term.
  • 56% of consumers said they're buying more locally sourced products, with 84% of those saying they plan to continue to do so long-term.
  • 50% of respondents cited financial security as one of their top three concerns over the next six months.
  • 54% said they are shopping more cost-consciously and are likely to continue doing so—with consumers overall far more likely to have increased purchases of mid-range and budget brands and reduced purchases of premium brands since the pandemic began.
  • At the same time, 12% of consumers said they have increased premium purchases, with 57% of those falling outside the high-income bracket.

"Home is now the new frontier—it's become the workplace, the schoolroom, the place to try new hobbies, the place to socialize and a safe sanctuary—so companies must account for this reality," said Oliver Wright, managing director and head of Accenture's global Consumer Goods practice. "They'll need to think beyond traditional tactics and be more creative, providing premium or virtual experiences and tailoring their portfolios to engage consumers."

This research supports Accenture's previous findings that the changes in consumer behavior, such as the dramatic rise in e-commerce since the start of the pandemic, are likely to accelerate further. For instance, the proportion of online purchases by infrequent e-commerce users has increased 170% since the outbreak.

Incentive and reward program planners who've been on the job since the Great Recession likely remember how many consumers turned to home goods in that time period as well. Stay on top of this trend by ensuring you include a complete mix of home goods and housewares, as well as rec and sporting goods that allow participants to vacation at home, in your lineup of offerings.