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What Drove Brand Switching During COVID-19?

  • Alyx 

A recent McKinsey and Company study evaluated the many forces that impacted brand choice and brand loyalty during the COVID-19 pandemic, with an eye toward what would work for brands now in the “new normal” and in the near future in the “next normal.”

You’ve probably read a lot about customer experience driving brand loyalty, but their chart on what inspired customers to switch brands in several countries is very interesting:

Lower prices are always relevant. But even more important in three of four countries (and almost as important in the US) was the need to show real value. Customers are carefully assessing whether a product shows a real benefit that merits the price.

Several of the other factors that were important also show a trend – toward corporate responsibility and stewardship. Consumers rewarded companies that had repurposed part of their production lines to support COVID-19 efforts, perhaps making face masks or ventilators. They also actively sought out brands that were making visible efforts to support their employees.

Overall, these factors show a more thoughtful process going into consumers’ purchase decisions – looking for real value in their purchases and for companies that rallied to support essential workers as well as their own personnel. We expect to see this move to value and responsibility to continue to be a driving factor in customer loyalty – and this study shows these values can also contribute to customer acquisition.