Craft Focus - February / March 2021 (Issue 83)

82 Post pandemic insights Beth Tait, managing director at Go Inspire pieces together new post-pandemic customer segments In 2020, the retail world saw a complete remodelling of the shopping experience. Where a number of retail industries struggled, however, the arts and crafts sector witnessed a small boom. Hobbycraft saw a significant jump in online searches for sewing, scrapbooking and knitting tutorials, according to The Guardian , and reported a 200 per cent online boom in sales since the start of the pandemic. Evidently, stay-at-home orders resulting from the pandemic inspired many to embark on a journey of crocheting, flower-pressing and papier-mâché. Likewise, existing craft enthusiasts had more time to devote to their pastimes or simply tend to their mending pile. In the midst of uncertainty, hands-on hobbies provided a relaxing alternative to screen-time for many. This resurgence in artsy activities is a victory for the craft industry but businesses should make sure they are carefully planning to maintain interest in the long-term. Last year, some craft shops adapted to lockdown by offering crafting tutorials via zoom calls as well as no-contact curbside deliveries. Going forward, craft businesses will need to continue moulding their marketing strategy to the ‘new normal’. Any shift in strategy must also be accompanied by a thorough understanding of new customer segments and of how existing segments have evolved as a result of the pandemic. Having a finger on the pulse of new behavioural profiles will be key to efficiently managed budgets, deployed where they are most needed and where they can be most effective. The demand for crafts is alive but earning a patch of the fabric may require businesses to strip away pre-existing conceptions and past models when designing new marketing strategies. At Go Inspire, we decided early on in the pandemic to start analysing the impact on customer behaviour in order to understand and illustrate the changes taking place across the UK retail industry. Using a pool of five million customers and working with a selection of multichannel client companies, our analysis identified seven new customer segments in the post-pandemic landscape. These insights offer a valuable starting point for businesses to click the reset button on their strategic framework and begin drawing up new practical plans for 2021 and beyond. CARVING OUT ‘NEW NORMAL’ PROFILES FOR EXISTING CUSTOMERS From our research, we found that existing customers typically fell into one of three categories. The first group, which we coined the Loyal Stalwarts , continued to spend although with a slightly different basket composition than before the crisis. Customers belonging to the Grown Apart group were seen to shift parts of their spending to online shopping, but not enough to maintain the same level of spending as before the pandemic. Finally, the third category of existing customers known as Trial Separation , did not adapt their shopping behaviour to the closing of bricks and mortars – opting instead to simply stop spending altogether. Interestingly, we found that age was not a determining