If we have learned anything during this time, it is the paradox that change has become the only constant in our lives. Therefore, the speed of adaptation and the adoption of new technologies is crucial when it comes to understanding the consumer’s mentality, how they behave and what are the underlying reasons behind this behavior.
Only a year and a half after the beginning of the pandemic, we are connected to the Internet for less time than during the harsh months of confinement, except for Generation Z and Millennials, who increase Internet consumption, 7 points above the average , up to 76 hours a week (12 hours / day). In addition, we mainly connect from our smartphones.
Another phenomenon derived from hyperconnectivity is the so-called “double screen effect” (watching TV while connecting to the Internet), which is already part of our daily lives. In this sense, Nielsen, a global leader in audience measurement, together with Dynata, present the * Digital Consumer Survey 2021 report , which sheds light on the new consumption and purchasing habits that COVID-19 has caused in Spaniards, whose main characteristic is the beginning of a new era: the hybrid. A new reality in which there is a true fusion between the physical and digital world.
Buying online vs buying in a physical store of the Spanish
Spain is a country of contact and socializing. So one of the questions that arouses the most interest and curiosity is: have we returned to physical stores or are we now buying more online?
There are sectors where we are more prone to return to stores and others for which we prefer to buy online. We chose to direct us in person to establishments such as supermarkets, pharmacies, and buying utensils and household cleaning products. On the contrary, the online preference is located especially in the purchase / reservation of trips, contracting telecommunications services (telephone / Internet, etc.), and the purchase of video games.
However, it is important to consider that there are categories without a defined preference for the purchase channel, such as hiring financial services, clothing or accessories, and electronic devices. In addition, the main reason for buying online for Spaniards is to save time, especially among women aged 40-45 years, while for Generation Z, free shipping is the most attractive of online shopping.
For their part, what Spaniards value most about the possibility of buying in establishments is being able to see and touch the products and the option of trying them. For generations, women belonging to the “baby-boomers”(between 55 and 75 years old) are the ones who have returned to the stores the most, while the younger generations and therefore, more digital, have adapted much more to online shopping and do not miss physical contact so much when buying a product, but their main reason for going to the establishments is the shopping experience.
Christmas shopping forecasts
Now that Spaniards are returning to pre-pandemic habits, are we also spending the same as before? What do we prefer to invest in for the end of the year? In general terms, the Spanish are more optimistic than last year regarding the Christmas season. Thus, while in 2020 21% of Spaniards had planned to buy less to save money, now the figure has been reduced to almost half, so that only for 11% it is important to buy less to save.In addition, 19% declare that they will buy regularly, since their budget allows it (4 points higher than last year).
23% also say that they plan to buy but only what they consider a priority, when in 2020 it was 27% of Spaniards (4 points above), those who thought this way. On the contrary, in order to save money, we tend to compare prices more, rising up to 3 points compared to last year, and we plan to buy more products in promotions, discounts, and sales than before (17% vs 12%).
Regarding the preference of Spaniards for the shopping channel during Christmas and Black Friday, it leans slightly towards the online part (51%), andincreases by around 8 points for the young segments, so there is no doubt that social networks will be a key stimulus during this season of the end of the year.
The influence of social networks on the purchasing habits of Spaniards
Social networks have become a fundamental element in our daily lives, especially among the youngest, since 90% of Spaniards between 16 and 29 years old are active users of the networks. From the average 11 hours a week we spend on social networks, about 3 hours are dedicated exclusively to viewing content from influencers, who impact the perception of products and brands of 65% of Spaniards.
For this reason, both the networks and these influencers have become a fundamental channel to discover brands and directly impact the final purchase decision. In addition, this hyperconnection has caused smartphones to be the second most used device for shopping online (only below computers) and the one preferred by Spaniards between 21 and 39 years old.This use of what is known as Mobile Commerce, has triggered the appearance of new forms of purchase, such as Social Commerce, or Live Commerce.
New shopping trends arrive in Spain
Social Commerce, or buying through RRSS, is something still incipient in Spain with a higher incidence among the younger generations (between 16 and 29 years old) and mainly through Instagram, Facebook and Tik-Tok for products related to fashion, beauty and personal care. In addition, it is a trend that is also beginning to enter Twitch, where it focuses on the purchase of video games.
But how does the purchase take place in this new channel? Mainly through a publication that redirects to a purchase website, the store’s profile on the brand’s social network or by sliding stories that redirect to the purchase site. Another new shopping trend that is sweeping China, especially among millennials and Gen Z, is Live Commerce. In other words, the purchase through a live broadcast on online platforms.
This combines entertainment with shopping, and has been a revolution in the great Asian giant, whose market value grew 280 percent between 2017 and 2020, reaching approximately 171 billion euros last year and with forecasts of growth of up to 423 billion euros for this coming year. In our country, it is a trend that is still being introduced and 44% of Spaniards have not yet heard of this innovative purchasing method, which represents a latent opportunity for the market.
The main platforms in which it is used in Spain are Instagram and Facebook, and the categories that implement it the most are: fashion, beauty, food, personal care , hygiene and video games. It has a greater reception by the youngest: Generation Z and the “millennials”(16 -39 years), who are more willing to adopt new technologies. In relation to the type of content of the live broadcasts that most interest Spaniards are: the history of a product or brand (67%), tutorials (72%) and, first of all, tours of physical stores (74%), combining digital and physical experience.
A hybrid world, combining the physical with the online
The key to making consumers fall in love lies in knowing how to adapt to these trends and to the new reality that consists of the integration of the physical and the digital. For this reason, a novel concept arises; the Phydigital, an acronym connecting the two concepts and refers to elements that integrate presence in the physical world and the digital activity.
Currently in Spain, which have already been adopted they are mainly: the QR codes, purchase tickets through the APP and touch screens within a physical store.This new concept is being implemented more and more in the daily life of Spaniards, especially in large cities, and has gained momentum after the pandemic.
However, there is still a lot of potential to develop this phenomenon, with innovative elements such as smart testers, augmented reality or virtual reality, since at the moment only approximately 10% of Spaniards have seen them implemented.
According to Maira Barcellos, head of Nielsen for Spain and Portugal: “Digitization and social media have been key players in marketing and advertising for some time now, and with their new elements and trends we have seen them become even more crucial elements in building meaningful relationships with consumers during 2020 and 2021.
Discovering new shopping trends, as well as the digital behavior of Spaniards and their consumption habits allows us to offer very valuable information for brands that want to boost their sales and conquer new audiences. Understanding their potential consumers will allow them expand their market share and increase their sales. The brands that really understand this are the ones that will continue to prosper today and in the future. “