Podcast: COVID-19 is Changing the Way Consumers Pay. Here’s What That Means for Merchants.

Listen to two payment industry experts, Theresa McEndree, VP of marketing at Blackhawk Network, and Ted Iacobuzio, VP and Managing Director at Mercator Advisory Group, discuss new COVID-era consumer behaviors around digital payments and gift cards.

Based on research conducted before the peak impact of the pandemic and supplemental data gathered during the phased re-openings, Theresa and Ted discuss how COVID-19 is transforming consumer behavior related to digital shopping, gifting and payments. 

As Theresa explains, today’s consumer has had to juggle concerns about safety, security and accessibility, which has led them to “really cross the chasm, so to speak, to adoption” of newer technologies. In fact, digital-first payments statistics across eight global markets reveal that 88% of shoppers reported using a digital wallet of some kind—although the numbers do vary around the globe1. 

As social-distancing guidelines have made in-person shopping less desirable, digital gifting has emerged as another growing trend. More and more people are opting to send virtual prepaid cards or eGift cards because they’re easy to order online and deliver via email. A related trend is an increase in purchasing digital gift cards for self-use, often to manage spending.

These consumer preferences for digital-first options will result in larger changes for merchants. Before the pandemic, omnichannel shopping was driving marketing conversations and innovations; as we move forward, omnichannel payments will start to take the lead, and mobile apps may play a key role. As Theresa notes, “Retailer apps are a closed environment of commerce, payments and brand experiences. It’ll be exciting to see the innovations." 

Looking ahead to 2021, “businesses will have to keep a pulse on trends like payments and how they drive engagement overall,” explains Theresa. Shoppers are adapting, and merchants must too. In fact, 44% of respondents said they were unlikely to return to their pre-COVID shopping behaviors. And even more consumers—78%—expect permanent shopping changes due to the global pandemic1.

Listen to the complete podcast to learn more about how digital trends are driving new consumer behaviors today and, without a doubt, for the foreseeable future. If you’d like to read the full report, How People Pay: A BrandedPay™ Study of Multinational Attitudes Around Shopping, Payments, Gifts and Rewards, request your copy here.


This podcast was produced and is hosted by PaymentsJournal at: https://www.paymentsjournal.com/covid-19-is-changing-the-way-consumers-pay-heres-what-that-means-for-merchants/.

Source: 1) “BrandedPay: How People and Brands Connect Through Payments” is based on the findings of an internet-based survey conducted by Leger on behalf of Blackhawk Network between February 12 and March 17, 2020. The sample size included over 12,000 respondents in eight countries.