Consumer expectations and behaviors are shifting. Consulting firm CapTech Ventures, in its annual consumer survey conducted in September, has identified new opportunities for innovation and businesses now available through technology.

"We learned that personalization, accessibility, inclusivity and innovation are key purchasing influencers as we approach 2022,” says Vinnie Schoenfelder, CapTech CTO. “Consumers have adopted new behaviors made possible by technology and these behaviors will likely continue to impact businesses in the long term.”

Captech reports that while consumers have maintained a permanent shift in prioritizing their spending on essentials, in the past six months, spending on non-essential items has increased—non-essential spending increased seven percent from 2020 to 2021, and travel increased 25 percent from 2020-2021. And with less emphasis on health standards, being accessible and inclusive have become important factors, with 64 percent of respondents ranking a business being inclusive and accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities, as influential on purchasing decisions. Also, consumers continue to look for alternative shopping methods and tech solutions for everyday activities—83 percent said price was a top influencing purchasing factor, while 55 percent rank trusted brands as a top influencing purchasing factor and 69 percent are influenced by discounting or waiving shipping/delivery fees.

Digital savviness and consumption are also here to stay. Streaming entertainment, ordering online and mobile phone usage have all continued to increase from pre-pandemic use—which CapTech suggests is a potential indicator of a permanent shift in behavior. The survey found that 66 percent would like to continue shopping online and 45 percent would like to continue using curbside pickup or drive up using an app. Also, consumers are interested in continued and future usage of technologies like online chat, virtual appointments and paying with a smart device. Almost half of consumers used live chat and made a virtual appointment in the last six months.

Compared to other purchasing influencers like availability and cost, the survey found that consumers are less interested in personalization. However, they are willing to exchange data for a more personalized experience. Data shows that 45 percent of consumers have used personalized correspondence, sales, ads and product recommendations when making a purchasing decision, and that 49 percent are willing to share data in exchange for discounts, perks and convenience.