A lasting shift towards more digital consumer channels and an acceleration in the diversification of payment and financing methods

More than 1 out of every 2 Europeans have become acquainted with a new digital service in the past few months. Alongside the resilience they showed during the public health crisis, Europeans changed their consumer behaviours. The Oney study conducted by OpinonWay also looks at whether these changes are here to stay,  and shows that Europeans will increasingly use digital tools in their everyday lives, particularly in their interactions with their banks.

In the meantime, facing uncertainties that are raising, 1 in 4 Europeans expect their income to fall, and more than 1 in 3 Europeans state that they intend to use financing solutions more frequently, including instalment plans, which are widely hailed.

Croix, October 8th, 2020 – Thanks to the work it has been carrying out for more than 35 years, Oney offers expertise all along the purchasing and payment pathway, and as such, can grasp the behaviours of European consumers and decipher the trends that will transform future purchases. In partnership with OpinionWay, Oney Group presents a third study carried out in five countries — France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Germany — and analyses consumer behaviours in full transformation since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.

What attitudes will Europeans take to their future spending? What new practices came about during this time? What new needs have emerged? The study conducted by Oney and OpinionWay brings answers these questions.

Consumers are tweaking their financing choices after the crisis

One in four European consumers believes that the public health crisis will affect their income. As the first victim of the contraction in the economy, non-essential needs will serve as an adjustment variable. For the French, the first item of expenditure cut is furniture or decoration (60%), while the Italians (63%) and the Portuguese (74%) would first choose to cut back on expenditure around the year-end holiday season. For the Spanish (60%) and Germans (40%), high-tech products are the first to go in times of budgetary constraints.

In this context, price remains a dominant criterion for 3 out of 4 Europeans, even if a good/product’s place of production (especially in the case of food) and a product’s durability are also decisive factors in the decision to buy, a finding that corroborates the conclusions of a previous study by Oney and OpinionWay.

Many people (1 in 3) wish to make more frequent use of financing solutions. Payment in instalments is the most popular option, ahead of deferred payment and consumer credit. To wit, 44% of the Spanish, 39% of the Italians, 35% of the French, 31% of the Portuguese and 26% of the Italians state that they intend to make use of this financing solution in the next six months.

Oney has already been able to measure this intention. Specifically, the production of payment-by-instalment solutions at Oney increased by 51% during lockdown, in a trend that has remained almost stable since the restrictions were lifted.

Changing consumer habits: a lasting reality

Lockdown saw a real boom in on-line shopping. Forced to stay at home, Europeans went shopping via digital channels. In this respect, the Spanish (67%), Italians (66%) and Portuguese (62%) proved to be the biggest on-line buyers. Food products (the leading purchase category for the French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish) and clothing (leading purchase category for the Germans) were the most frequently acquired on-line.

Over and above the mere necessity, the democratisation of digital consumption is ascribable to its ease of use. More than 4 out of every 5 Europeans made the shift smoothly, and most Europeans, though to a lesser extent the Portuguese, reported having done so without much effort. This trend is expected to be a lasting one: 65% of the French and 67% of the Portuguese intend to continue making their cultural purchases on-line, 68% of the Italians intend to do the same for household appliances, 67% of the Spanish intend to do so for travel and holidays, and 62% of the Germans intend to purchase medicines and health products on-line.

Despite this surge of enthusiasm for on-line purchases, more than 2/3 of Europeans say they still prefer to buy in-store.

Lastly, it appears that entry via a digital service is encouraging Europeans to seek out further services. 56% of Spaniards say would be interested in a videoconference service that enables access to a telephone advisor for after-sales service, 44% of Italians say they would be interested in a videoconference service with an insurance expert to receive an initial estimate of a claim before their first in-person appointment.

Largely digitised use of banking services

Another consequence of this period is the profound change that has come about in the customer/consumer-merchant relationship. The impact is being felt in every sector, and in particular in banking. To get in touch with their banks, Europeans primarily used their websites or mobile applications. Some carried out transactions on-line for the first time: paying bills, making digital payment, using electronic signatures, or executing financial investments. At the same time, some uses have gained ground. 54% of the Italians, 57% of the Portuguese, 55% of the Spanish and 42% of the French report having used their mobile applications “much more frequently”, while 42% of the Germans said they used social media “much more frequently”. Consequently, it is the entire banking relationship has changed. Nonetheless, more than one in three Europeans believes that ability to turn to an advisor will always be essential.

Beyond this renewed tie with bankers, it is also consumer modes that are being shaken. One in two Europeans says they invariably choose contactless payment whenever offered. And users now see the absence of a contactless option as an irritant.

That being said, fears remain: the fear of fraudulent uses, hacked personal data and lack of trust are all cited as reasons for which people would refrain from making this payment method the only one.

According to Jean Pierre Viboud, Chief Executive Officer of Oney, “The health crisis we are experiencing is unprecedented and has changed our habits. As far as consumption is concerned, Europeans have favored digital ways of consumption while still being attached to physical stores, proving that human contact remains essential. This explains the growing success of our omnichannel solutions that go along all forms of shopping (in-store, online, drive, click and collect, etc.). This study reinforces our strategy to develop solutions that anticipate changes in consumption: more digital and more meaningful.”

Press Contact – Oney

Camille Gerardi

+33 (0)3 28 38 72 05 / cgerardi@oney.com

Press contacts – Agence OmnicomPR Group

Rama Sall

+33 (0)6 74 10 93 70 /rama.sall@omnicomprgroup.com