The marketing landscape has shifted in a major way since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shelter-in-place restrictions have begun to lift in states across the U.S., and marketers need to adjust their strategies accordingly. Let’s take a look at how the reductions in shelter-in-place restrictions have affected consumer mobility, and how you can use those insights to plan your marketing spend strategically.
Consumers Are Proceeding With Caution
More than half of the country has reduced COVID-related restrictions at this point, and more states are on track to reopen by the end of May. While you might expect consumers to rush to stores after being on lockdown for weeks on end, that has not necessarily proven to be true. Using Cuebiq’s COVID-19 Mobility Insights, we saw that on Wednesday, May 6, the national mobility index was still down -20% when compared to last year’s average.
That said, we have indeed started to see pockets of increased mobility, predominantly in states that have reopened. In Nebraska, which reopened recently, the CMI (Cuebiq Mobility Index) is down -13%, indicating that people are moving more than the national average but still not as much as last year in the same region. Zooming in, we see differences in mobility at the county level, with many counties seeing positive weekly mobility trends.
The path to normalcy has begun, but the process will likely be slower than expected. Even in states where almost all business types are allowed to reopen, many local businesses continue to stay closed, especially in major metropolitan areas, as owners weigh how and when to return to business as usual.
How to Use This Insight:
It’s important to align your marketing spend with consumer mobility, reaching consumers on the platforms they’re using with messages that resonate:
- Don’t shift your marketing dollars away from social, mobile, and other marketing tactics that align with low consumer mobility just yet! Although states have started to reopen, many consumers are still opting to stay indoors.
- As consumer mobility increases, which you can monitor using Cuebiq’s Mobility Insights, you can begin to shift your marketing tactics toward pre-COVID strategies.
Consumers Are Turning to DIY Projects
Consumers are not only proving to be more cautious than expected, but they are also turning toward a new hobby: DIY projects. While springtime usually brings increases in foot traffic from DIYers to stores, you might expect those increases to be tempered by the pandemic this year.
However, the data shows that this has not been the case. Using offline intelligence, we saw that home improvement stores had a 5% positive gain the week of 4/27 when compared to the prior week. Auto parts stores also saw a 6% gain, indicating that consumers are not only starting home projects but also opting to service their own vehicles. Why might DIY projects be on the rise? With the unemployment rate at 14.7%, an all-time high, many consumers may have more time on their hands while planning to cut costs by doing their own house or car work.
How to Use This Insight:
There are a few ways you can leverage this insight to refine your marketing strategy:
- Collaborate with brands that cater to DIYers, such as home improvement retailers.
- Create video content that will inspire DIYers to not only shop at your store but also follow tutorials for their DIY projects.
- Advertise on platforms that DIY consumers might use as an inspiration board, such as Pinterest.
As more restrictions lift, marketers will need to be nimble and consistently reevaluate their strategies to ensure they’re aligning with changing state regulations and consumer behaviors.
Subscribe to our blog to get the latest tips on how to manage your marketing strategies during this time of reopening.