Potential recovery of retail, travel industries as consumers receive COVID-19 vaccine: IBM consumer study

According to the findings of a new global consumer study released by IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) Institute for Business Value (IBV), respondents surveyed are mostly confident in the safety, effectiveness, and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines and indicate a desire to return to ‘normalcy’ after being vaccinated. But different rules, personal preferences, and social norms formed during the last year means that key industries like retail, travel and transportation may need to provide more seamless, personalized marketing and client experiences, to help remain competitive and successfully engage customers.

The study of more than 15,000 adults surveyed globally, found most people are confident in the safety, effectiveness, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, and more than half expect the COVID-19 vaccine to keep them protected. Economic progress can happen gradually, however, as most respondents surveyed indicated that vaccination levels will need to exceed 70 percent in order for them to feel comfortable returning to life as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. If current COVID-19 vaccine rollout rates continue, it purports that most people may not regain pre-COVID-19 pandemic comfort levels until well into 2022. Amidst this uncertainty, consumers are rethinking the way they want to work, socialize, travel, and shop, according to the study.

“Habits formed during the COVID-19 pandemic have raised consumers’ expectations of digital engagement, especially in service industries like retail, travel & transportation,” said Jesus Mantas, senior managing partner, IBM Global Business Services. “As we anticipate the ‘post-COVID-19 pandemic normal,’ businesses should accelerate their digital evolution with AI and Cloud based solutions to help remain competitive. Investing in hybrid physical and digital experiences can help provide a more personalized experience.”

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