As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to gain international attention, it is also affecting the state of businesses. According to a report by Coresight Research, 47.4% of U.S. individuals are avoiding international travel for business trips and vacations. Meanwhile, 47.2% of those surveyed have been avoiding shopping malls as of Feb. 28, 2020. Movie theatre avoidance is at 41.9%.
Brick-and-mortar stores like restaurants and coffee shops have 35.3% of people avoiding them. This is in addition to 32.7% of individuals staying away from shops in general.
There is a pattern of avoiding physical environments. Consumers are also turning to online shopping as a way of receiving items. However, according to Andrew Lipsman, the principal analyst at eMarketer, these consumers may expect shipping delays due to the increasing popularity of making purchases online.
The most sought-after items related to health pertain to household maintenance masks, medical masks, and hand sanitizer. An investigation by Nielsen found that the product sales growth of household maintenance masks reached 262% in four weeks. This is an increase from 179% in the first week.
The sales of medical masks skyrocketed as well. By four weeks, it reached 319% in dollar growth while week one was at 78%. Hand sanitizer is another product that saw a growth in popularity among consumers. While week one saw a 54% dollar growth, week four reached 73%.
Aside from the increased prices on health-related items, events are being cancelled by organizations and companies. These cancellations can have a lasting impact on marketing budgets and business revenues.
The GSMA Mobile World Congress, for example, cancelled its 2020 mobile industry exhibition. In a statement, the GSMA noted that the event was axed due to health and travel concerns. Parties involved include device manufacturers, vendors, content owners, technology providers, and global mobile operators.
In another statement, Google Cloud Next notified participants that the event will be held digitally instead. It was stated that the event dates will remain the same and be free and globally accessible. The statement, however, was later updated with the call to postpone the event. As of March 27, 2020, part of the statement now reads, “Please know that we are fully committed to bringing Google Cloud Next ‘20: Digital Connect to life, but will hold the event when the timing is right.”
According to a study by Demand Gen Report, in-person events are integral to businesses. The 2020 study found that 39% of U.S. B2B marketers saw in-person events and trade shows as drivers of engagement. These events also account for conversions, according to 53% of those marketers surveyed.
However, it should be noted that while in-person events rank first when it comes to conversions, emails and phone calls also drive conversion at 48%. As for engagement, emails and websites are on top for marketers at 49% and 47% respectively.
Based on these findings, businesses can reimagine their marketing strategies. Events can be moved into the digital realm. Live and virtual conferences can be streamed on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube. Live webinars are another option.
As more live events are being canceled, digitalization is becoming a viable option. The Find Your Audience team is ready to provide businesses with digital marketing solutions. To reach an expert, call 647-479-0688. Find Your Audience may also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.