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Earlier this year, we launched our Vertical Spotlight Series in order to highlight key mobile user behavioral changes, due to consumers across the globe staying home and spending more time on their mobile devices. Over the summer we shone a spotlight on Telehealth, CPG, and Entertainment. If you’re interested in tuning into those virtual events you can find the recordings here

Our most recent vertical spotlights were hosted in partnership with the Advertising Club of New York, where we focused on Consumer Electronics, Travel, and Finance. In case you missed them — below is a summary of the insights shared and conversations had with brands including Verizon, Bose, Delta Airlines, and Avis Budget Group, Wells Fargo, Robinhood, and JPMorgan Chase. 

Electronics keep consumers connected

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, schools, work, and socializing all went digital. This resulted in a huge increase in demand for consumer electronics. In fact, eMarketer shared that 2020 e-commerce sales of computer and consumer electronics will reach over $156B. This is significantly more than any other retail category.

We know that people are purchasing more consumer electronics, but what we sought to discover is how this increase in sales impacts the various wireless carriers, and what else consumer electronics shoppers are interested in.

Below is a snapshot of an app universe from Ogury Active Insights. It showcases which other apps Best Buy users also engage with, revealing their interests. 

After sharing more demographic and behavioral insights, the event concluded with a virtual discussion. Evan spoke with Karna Crawford, Head of Consumer Media Strategy and Activation at Verizon, and Marissa Curcuru, Head of Global Media at Bose. During this discussion, we learned the unique challenges both businesses have faced, how they overcame those challenges, and how their consumers’ behavior has evolved over the course of the year.

Both agreed that these new behaviors will shape our future shopping habits. On the topic of Black Friday, Melissa and Karna predict that store closures won’t have a negative impact on sales. Melissa shared that, “so many consumers have gotten used to shopping via e-commerce over the last few months,” and Karna agreed that “the cyber-five weekend changes form from being in-store on Friday, online on Monday, to a hybrid all weekend long.”

The discussion ended with some marketing advice. Melissa urged marketers to “be customer-first. Know your audience, know what they care about, and know what makes them tick. If you lead from a consumer point of view and know what you can do to help them you will naturally add value to their lives.” Karna encouraged marketers to “have purpose and be authentic. If you have a clear purpose it allows you to have very clear criteria for decision-making, be able to move swiftly and it’ll make you more nimble and consistent.” If you didn’t catch the event live, you can watch the full replay below.

The mobile device has become a travel concierge 

The travel industry has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. After lockdown measures were put in place, business trips were canceled and vacations were postponed. This understandably resulted in a pause in consumer spending. In fact, it’s anticipated that digital travel sales will decline by 44.7% this year, netting out at just over $115B.

Despite this decrease in sales, regional travel over the upcoming winter holidays is expected to surge. In fact, the short-term rental property management platform, Guesty, shared that their Thanksgiving bookings are already up 38% this year, and overall reservations for the winter holidays are up 40%. 

In order to better understand these travelers, we analyzed a “Regional Winter Traveler” custom persona study. We learned that this persona skews slightly more female at 52% and the majority of these travelers are above 35. We found that they show an affinity for various car rental apps and sites such as Budget, and restaurant booking apps and sites including OpenTable. We also discovered that they are 4.9 times more likely than the general population to own the HomeAway Vacation Rentals app and 3.8 times more likely than the general population to own the AllTrails: Hiking, Running & Mountain Bike Trails app.

After sharing Ogury’s insights and predictions on future traveler behaviors, Evan had a discussion with Molly Battin, VP of Marketing at Delta Air Lines, and Alex Sutton, Director of Digital Acquisition at Avis Budget Group. During this discussion, we learned about the biggest challenges these brands have faced and how their businesses have adapted to the shifts within the travel industry. 

Also needing major adaptations — their media strategies. Molly shared that Delta “is no longer doing broader reach targeting and are now much more focused on performance-driven marketing.” And the device that has proven extremely valuable is mobile. Molly said that Delta is now “leveraging the mobile device as a travel concierge.” Similarly, Alex shared that “going into the pandemic we (Avis Budget Group) were fairly device agnostic. Now we’ve seen higher levels of mobile traffic. That’s played into how we’ve pivoted our strategy.” 

Not only are Delta and Avis Budget Group more reliant on mobile, but they’re also more reliant on their agencies and advertising technology partners. Alex said, “our agency and ad tech partners have been forced to do a lot more with a lot less and they’ve really stepped up.” Molly shared that “they’ve been with us on this journey and have been agile, flexible, and nimble.” If you want to hear more from Evan, Molly, and Alex, watch the on-demand event replay.

Spending habits have changed as Americans prioritize their finances

A recent survey revealed that 64% of Americans’ spending habits have changed since the start of the pandemic, with a 50% decrease in discretionary spend. Despite the decrease in the discretionary category, consumers are still spending, and they’re turning to online channels. In fact, e-commerce is expected to grow by 20% in 2020. The pandemic has accelerated the shift away from physical stores to digital shopping by roughly five years.

So what are people doing with their money? A survey by Mint shared how YoY spending habits have shifted. Interestingly, consumer spend on investments has increased by a massive 42%. Not only are American’s spending their money on investments, but some people are also saving more, with about half of Americans saying they’ve either saved more or paid down debt since the outbreak began.

To gain a deeper understanding of the various personal finance personas including ‘The Investor”, ‘The Budgeter”, and “The Saver”, Evan shared unique demographic and behavioral insights on these audience groups.

Following the presentation, Evan led a discussion with Josephine Chew, SVP, Head of Integrated Marketing for Brand & Sponsorship at Wells Fargo, Tory Marlin, VP, Brand & Advertising at JPMorgan Chase, and Christina Smedley, Chief Marketing Officer at Robinhood. One thing each of these brands had in common is that they each needed to adapt their messaging and campaign creative to align with the shifts in consumer spending patterns, and the shifts in their mindsets.

Tory shared that it’s important for JPMorgan Chase to remind its consumers of the importance of “thinking long-term.” Christina shared that as consumers are spending more time at home they have time to think of the long-term which has resulted in an increased interest in investments. Watch the on-demand replay to hear more about how mindset shifts altered their brand strategies.

As always, if you have any questions or feedback as you watch the above replays, feel free to reach out to me directly:

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