The COVID-19 pandemic is significantly influencing national purchasing habits, pushing a higher share of purchases onto the internet and away from the physical point-of-sale, reports market research firm Packaged Facts in the recent industry study Digital Consumer Payment Trends in the U.S. In a related sense, the pandemic is reshaping not only how consumers pay—what payment method they use, which one they feel most safe using—but also the banking channels they prefer and the types of consumer credit they use.
These changes are shaping the present, but they will also shape the future. Consumer shifts to digital payments are being met with a host of industry responses intended to meet consumer needs. Once in place, they will likely maintain that digital payment use and even expand upon it as long as those responses help consumers pay more easily, more quickly, and more safely than before.
Below are three important economic and financial shifts involving digital payments:
Shifts in Payment Method and Payment Method Safety
Packaged Facts’ survey data featured in Digital Consumer Payment Trends in the U.S., revealed those survey respondents who pay directly from an app on their phone are five times as likely to use this payment method more because of COVID-19 than to use it less. Other payment methods whose use positively correlates with the pandemic include pre-paying before picking up items and paying with mobile phone/mobile app. Payment method losers include paying with cash, paying with check, and paying by giving a card to the person at the register.
Relatedly, while they are most likely to say they will use mobile apps more, consumers tend to perceive pre-paying before picking up items as the safest. Apart from giving a card to a person at the register, consumers are also at least as likely to say a listed payment method is safe as they are to say it is unsafe.
Shifts in Consumer Spending and Banking Behavior
Packaged Facts research also reveals that banks are delivering in the clutch. For example, those using mobile banking are far more likely to claim they are satisfied with their primary banks’ mobile apps than to express dissatisfaction. Consumers are also more likely to choose—and feel safe using—mobile/digital spending and payment options because of the pandemic.
Shifts in Consumer Credit Use and Future Payment Choices
Contrary to prevailing industry trends, consumers are most likely to use credit cards more because of the pandemic than to use them less. The reverse is true of other options. This may be because credit cards provide the most common and ready means to buy on credit, and they may be viewed as a less drastic option than choices such as emergency loans and layaway plans.
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