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Using data science to predict consumer behaviour during a pandemic Posted on : May 22 - 2020

In times of crisis such as the current pandemic, data science is ideal for predicting consumer behaviour and monitor changes

Crises can happen when people least expect them, and as the current COVID-19 pandemic illustrates, they may have global impacts rather than just regional ones. No matter the specifics of such catastrophes, brands are often better able to weather them if they have insights about how consumer behaviour changed during past emergencies, and data science can aid substantially in making such discoveries.

1. Crises give brands opportunities to prove their relevance

People experiencing dire circumstances often take the time to refocus on the things that truly matter. A person who survives a natural disaster, for example, may feel extremely grateful to be alive and shift their priorities to spend more time and money on genuinely rewarding things.

Brands can use crisis periods to deepen their relationships with customers, thereby proving their worthiness. Predictive analytics helps brands succeed in the often-daunting task of giving consumers what they need and want.

A 2019 survey found that people who received valuable assistance messages when shopping were 20% more likely to bring the brand commercial benefits, such as increased cart sizes and repurchases. Tuning into customers can allow companies to reap the rewards.

Businesses could also analyse past social media messages and comments received through email to get an idea of how much people will take advantage of a new offering. When crises cause people to restrict their spending and possibly cast aside brands that no longer meet their expectations, enterprises need to rise to the challenges faced.

2. Data science reveals the link between purchases and past associations

When people go through an economic crisis or similarly disastrous circumstances, groceries represent a continual need. Something that differs, though, is which items they want or need most. Moreover, how consumers feel about certain products typically influences their likelihood of continuing to buy them after a situation improves.

A joint research effort from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and insights specialist IRI recently examined data collected during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The goal was to get some predictive behaviour indicators about how grocery shopping may change due to the more recent crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. View More