A survey of merchants and consumers in eight countries around the world has found that the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in “a dramatic shift to digital commerce” with nearly half of consumers (48%) saying they would not now shop at a store that only offers payment methods that require contact with a cashier or a shared device.
The most common changes consumers have made are to shop online when possible (49%), use contactless payments (48%) and not use cash as often (46%), The Visa Back to Business Study found.
Nearly two-thirds of consumers (67%) say they would switch to a new business that installed contactless payment options while 46% consider using contactless payment methods to be among the most important safety measures for retailers.
Close to four-fifths of consumers (78%) have made changes to the way they pay for goods and services to reduce contact, and more than two-thirds of small businesses (67%) have adopted a new approach to commerce and payments since the pandemic began.
Of the small businesses surveyed, more than a quarter have tried targeted advertising on social media (28%) or sold products or services online (27%), 20% have adopted contactless payments and a third (33%) have accepted less cash or stopped accepting cash altogether.
The survey shows some regional variations, with 94% of small businesses in UAE, 84% in Brazil and 87% in Hong Kong saying that they have adopted new business approaches compared with the global average of 67%. Some 44% of small businesses in UAE have enabled contactless payments for the first time compared with 20% globally.
“Consumers are putting Covid-19 measures at the top of their shopping list and rewarding businesses that do the same,” says Suzan Kereere, Visa’s global head of merchant sales and acquiring.
“Historically, we see behaviour change at the point of sale as a gradual shift over time. But Covid-19 has created an immediate need for safer, more efficient shopping experiences both on and offline and consumers are responding by rapidly migrating to digital commerce.”
Survey participants included 250 small business owners in the US, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Singapore and UAE, 1,000 adult consumers in the US and 500 adult consumers in the other seven countries, and was conducted by Wakefield Research in June.