New research, published exclusively by WARC, charts the shifting impact of touchpoints as a result of the pandemic: a sign of evolving consumer behaviours.

This is according to research from The Brand Experience Group, which WARC subscribers can read here. The study is based on a set of studies from May to June 2020 in the UK, taking in 700 respondents, 18 non-alcoholic drinks brands, and 36 different touchpoints.

Importantly, the research tries to quantify how consumers experience brands through contacts using brand experience points, reflecting what consumers perceive rather than what they merely receive.

Its results are a mix of confirmations and some surprises.

First, TV’s reach remained stable over the course of the pandemic, despite advertisers’ shyness. The particularly interesting finding, however, is that the contribution of young people (18–25) to the category experience increased by 15%, compensating for slight reductions among other age groups.

People still matter, but over lockdown friend and family recommendations dropped. “While the figures for recommendations […] remained stable, we can see a loss of influence (-12%) of the touchpoint “See others drinking a brand’s product”, (usually ranked in 10th to 15th place) which naturally follows the trend of the hotels, restaurants and cafés sector.”

Less surprisingly, in the late lockdown of May and June, on-trade interactions with brands plummeted between 20% and 40%. However, “on-trade interactions as a whole should gradually regain [their] essential role in the consumer’s journey in phase with the resumption of commercial activities in hotels, restaurants and cafés.”

Least surprising of all is the growth of both digital usage and digital influence, whose average brand experience contribution increased by 56% compared to pre-COVID-19 measurements.

For more, read the full research: Changing touchpoint influence and relevance as a result of the pandemic

Sourced from WARC