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December 1, 2020

New Digital Shelf Institute Report Reveals Key Economic Similarities and Differences for Brand Manufacturers Between COVID-19 and the Great Recession

Written by: Jason Fidler

“The 202X Recession: Economic Insights Report for Brands” highlights trends in consumer behavior and shopping habits during economic upheaval.

BOSTON, MA, December 1, 2020 - Despite continued economic uncertainty, brand leaders considering budget cuts across digital and marketing efforts do so at their own peril, finds a new report published today by The Digital Institute (DSI). According to “The 202X Recession: Economic Insights Report for Brands,” “Brands that continued to spend during the Great Recession outperformed those that cut back,” and today’s brands must similarly invest in light of COVID-19.

Authored by DSI economist-in-residence Steffan Willis, formerly of UBS, the report synthesizes economic data from dozens of sources to reveal lessons brand executives can take from the Great Recession (2007–2009).

The report notes that mid-market brands may struggle due to the ascendance of private label brands, which 65% of consumers now say are as good as national brands.

Additionally, as was the case in the Great Recession, consumer loyalty is “up for grabs,” with 77 percent of consumers trying new shopping behaviors since the beginning of the pandemic. The report notes that this offers great opportunities for brands to capture new market share by clearly showcasing the value of their products.

“Brand leaders are well served by looking at previous recessions to forecast how COVID-19 may play out, however no two recessions are the same,” said Willis. “This report provides insights into the key similarities between the Great Recession and COVID-19, but just as important, the key differences so that brand leaders can make fully informed decisions as to how to navigate their way out of this economic crisis.”

“The 202X Recession: Economic Insights Report for Brands” is broken into four sections that compare and contrast COVID-19 and the Great Recession. They are:

  1. COVID-19 Impact on Consumers: How issues ranging from unemployment to changes in personal habits have shifted consumer interactions with brands.
  2. How Consumer Behavior Evolved During the Great Recession: Consumer trends and themes that were formed during the Great Recession and how they impact consumer habits today.
  3. Lessons Learned from the Great Recession: Takeaways from brands' experiences during the Great Recession, and where today’s economic situation differs.
  4. Predictions for the “Next Normal”: How the rapid shift towards online-first interactions is impacting the digital shelf.

“Brand manufacturers are navigating a ton of change as they adjust to a recession, a pandemic, and massive shifts in consumer behavior,” said Peter Crosby, Executive Director of the Digital Shelf Institute. “We are pleased to have partnered with Steffan on this important study and hope it provides insights for opportunities amidst continued upheaval as brand leaders plan for 2021 and beyond.”

To download a full copy of “The 202X Recession: Economic Insights Report for Brands,” visit https://www.digitalshelfinstitute.org/202x-recession.


About The Digital Shelf Institute

The Digital Shelf Institute is the commerce community for manufacturers. In the digital age, manufacturers have more opportunities to control their commerce destiny than ever before.

The Digital Shelf Institute brings together an ecosystem of experience to share ideas, outcomes and the strategies in the form of virtual content, podcasts, reports, and articles that will drive revenue in the years ahead.

The Digital Shelf Institute also hosts the Digital Shelf Executive Forum, an invitation-only community platform for digital shelf executives of leading brands.

For more information on The Digital Shelf Institute, visit https://www.digitalshelfinstitute.org.

Media Contact

Jason Fidler

Head of Communications, The Digital Shelf Institute