IBM: ‘consumers want physical stores, automation and sustainability’

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IBM studied the impact of COVID-19 on consumer behaviour. Global lockdowns and digitalization are insufficient to wipe traditional stores off the face of the earth. Almost three-quarters of the consumers surveyed primarily shop in physical stores.

Digital systems in physical stores are becoming increasingly important. More than half of consumers say they want to continue using self-checkouts in the future. The same applies to physical pickups of online orders.

IBM’s figures are consistent with a November 2021 survey by Zebra Technologies. Zebra showed that 59 percent of European consumers plan to shop physically more often as the pandemic subsides. Furthermore, the use of self-checkout systems increased by seven percent in two years.

Physical stores aren’t diminishing — they’re changing. Automations like self-checkout systems are not only beneficial to organizations, but beloved by customers as well. The future favours robotization.

Sustainability

In addition to the digitization of physical stores, the importance of sustainability is on the rise. 44 percent of consumers choose brands and products based on personal norms and values relating to sustainability. 50 percent are fine with paying more for a sustainable product. More than half say they are willing to adjust their purchasing behaviour to reduce their carbon footprint.

In contrast, only 31 percent of consumers indicate that their recent purchases consist of sustainable products. According to IBM, organizations do not provide enough information to consumers during the purchasing process. More sustainability information on products could close the gap.