Businesses are navigating through a rapidly changing environment as their customers make new demands. Customer buying preferences evolved during the pandemic, resulting in an even larger shift to digital. US eCommerce sales were up 44% in 2020 year over year, nearly triple the 15.1% jump in 2020.
Similarly, this new normal has a significant impact on the strategic plans at B2B companies as they look to better understand the return to office plans of their clients. There are implications around business travel, remote work technology platforms, commercial real estate, among several others.
The Need to Better Understand Customer Preferences in the New Normal
As more cities and businesses begin to open up to full capacity, it raises the question of whether the shift in preferences will stay as people look to spend more time outdoors. A deeper look at Target’s most recent quarter shows a 17% increase in foot traffic compared to the same time period last year, when people were rushing to the store to stock up for the pandemic.
The pandemic has also demonstrated that many companies are able to be productive under a remote model, where some employees work remotely due to technological improvements for video meetings with other employees, customers, and vendors. However, this doesn’t mean office spaces are gone for good. Cushman and Wakefield CEO, Brett White shared that leaders at their clients are sharing that cultural adhesion could be a major driver for a predominantly hybrid return-to-work model.
The Urgent Need to Address Capacity and Capability Gaps in Market Research Teams
In such times of constant change, corporate leaders looked to market research professionals to help them better understand customer preferences. This unprecedented demand for market research expertise created capacity and capability gaps in market research teams, setting the stage for hiring independent professionals. Graphite’s data shows on-demand hiring of market research expertise in the first quarter of 2021 was up 573% YoY.
The trend has only accelerated in Q2 2021! There’s been a 3,543% increase in the hiring of market research expertise in April and May 2021 compared to the same time period in 2020. We anticipate this trend to continue in the near term in this particular department as the broader business environment continues to be in a constant state of change.
To access the latest trends in on-demand hiring, download our Q1 2021 report here.