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COVID-19 has lasting impact on consumer use of online services, study finds

A new report from ForgeRock shows 45% of consumers plan to increase online services use following COVID-19.

The global report: The New Normal Living Life Online, polled 5,000 consumers throughout the US, UK, Germany, Australia and Singapore to understand how consumer behaviors and preferences have evolved since the start of COVID-19 restrictions, and how they plan to purchase and engage with the world in the future.

ForgeRock states, based on the survey findings, consumers will continue to engage online for entertainment, retail and banking after the pandemic.

However, for at least two-thirds of consumers, healthcare visits and grocery shopping will revert back to in-person activities, likely due to the personal nature and quality of the experience. Other activities, such as education, might best be served in a hybrid model.

Regions varied in their response to the pandemic. While Singapore and the US led in registering for new apps and online services, German respondents favored in-person activities more than any other region surveyed.

Britons and Australians reported they were likely to continue using their new entertainment apps and online services after the pandemic restrictions lift.

In addition, the findings show that more than one-third (35%) of respondents state that a difficult log-in process would cause them to cancel their account, while 32% said they would look to another service.

In terms of age, consumers 65 and older have embraced their new digital lifestyles, with 31% reporting they plan to only shop online after stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.

Meanwhile, one-third of consumers aged 18-24 wont be returning to stadiums or theatres; instead they plan to keep watching sports, concerts and movies online post-pandemic, the report shows. 

ForgeRock SVP of global business and corporate development Ben Goodman says, "The COVID-19 pandemic forced consumers to change how they engaged in everyday activities traditionally handled in-person, such as grocery shopping, doctor check-ups and going to the movies."

"While the survey found consumers plan to keep up many of their new digital habits even after stay-at-home restrictions lift, its clear their tolerance for poor digital experiences is thin and many wont hesitate to switch apps for something thats easier to use and delivers a better overall user experience."

Goodman says, "Poor online experiences can impact the bottom line. Consumers abandon their shopping carts when the checkout process is too long or complicated.

"New apps are at greater risk for these pitfalls and businesses must react quickly with sophisticated digital identity approaches to keep the customer experience friction-free."

This report is the first installment evaluating how consumer behaviors have changed how and what digital activities they engage with since the start of the pandemic, as well as how they access those apps and accounts.