2021 will be the year of the switch with consumers walking away from known brands that they have purchased for many years, to those that can effectively respond to a desire for increased tangible and intangible value, according to Lyndall Spooner, founder and director of leading strategic research agency Fifth Dimension.

Spooner has over 25 years of experience in consulting and research services and is considered an expert in the field of strategy, research and customer experience. Fifth Dimension is a globally focused industry leading strategic research and consulting agency with clients including Westpac, Coles, HCF, Telstra, Foxtel, Colgate and the Commonwealth Bank.

“The pandemic has disrupted our lives in so many ways. One of the key areas is how we think and what we value – and in turn this is changing how we shop,” Spooner said.

“COVID pushed many people online not just out of necessity but increasingly by preference. Australia Post announced in May last year that online shopping had increased by 80% during the pandemic.  This figure has continued to remain strong despite getting COVID community transmission under control.

“With online shopping, people have increased access to product information, industry research and consumer reviews. Further, additional time spent on social media is exposing consumers to more targeted campaigns. Consequently, the buying decision process is more disrupted. 

“Shoppers can research product and service options at speed and to the level of detail they desire. We believe this will result in many people switching to new brands in 2021 as consumers put to use the skills they have acquired to explore brand options and find new brands that better meet their needs and budgets. Essentially, 2021 will be the first true year of the switch.

“COVID-19 economically impacted most levels of Australian society, which created two diverse purchasing patterns – those who try to navigate their way forward in 2021 with a reduced income and job uncertainty, and those who are able to take advantage of lower interest rates and the ability to work from home. We will see households who are looking for strategies to be more careful and diligent with their funds, and those looking to take advantage of their improved financial position.

“Australians are looking to support local companies and now is the chance for Australian businesses to share their human stories of who they are to make consumers feel good about making a purchase, but it needs to be supported with a strong value message.

“Value is not always about being the cheapest, it’s about demonstrating that your product is being sold at a reasonable price for what it is.”