How the ‘new normal’ is changing consumer behavior, according to Visa

The world is slowly embracing the new normal. As it happens, there is an instant acceleration of digital shopping as the way people live, work, and play change. That has also affected how consumers spend, send, and use money.

E-commerce grew 23% across the Asia-Pacific region from March 22 to April 4, compared to the same period last year. At the same time, retailers have posted an 82% jump in online orders amid store closures, limited in-store inventory, and shelter-in-place orders.

While businesses have been impacted, the smaller players are facing a tougher situation. Despite their scale, they are playing an important role in the lives of consumers, employees, and partners. Helping small businesses bring about ripple effects on communities and economies. This is especially true in the Asia-Pacific region, where small- and medium-sized enterprises comprise over 90% of businesses and employ about 50% of the area’s workforce, based on data from the World Bank.

Through its global partners, Visa connects over 61 million merchant locations. The company is in the position to help drive sales of businesses, especially during these times. Leveraging its network, the company’s partners and products help sellers get online more easily to reach more customers, to share data and insights in building brands, and to help buyers and sellers work together amid uncertainties.

For more than 60 years now, Visa has been solving numerous payment pain points for consumers and sellers. Thus, it is taking a great viewpoint in seeing how the current new normal is changing consumer behavior in these six ways:


1. Consumers shift to digital-first commerce.

No matter what they are selling, companies and brands are seamlessly integrating mobile, online and in-store commerce. Consumers are on the lookout for robust digital commerce experiences like never before. As people turn to online shopping to buy items like groceries, meals, and other household staples, the newly formed online shopping habits will surely last.


2. Small businesses quickly turn to digital commerce on their path to recovery.

Visa aims to help small businesses pivot and thrive in the digital space. For instance, in Australia, Visa is teaming up with Shopify to enable Visa cardholders who also own businesses in the country to use the Shopify platform for free for 3 months so they can quickly sell their products online. Globally, the company’s Fintech Fast Track program is assisting small firms to recover faster with dedicated Visa support.


3. Everyone needs and expects secure, immediate, and digital access to funds.

The world’s most trusted payments networks deliver fast and secure money movement options addressing pain points these days. Visa Direct is among those. The service facilitates quick payment of employees or gig workers through their Visa debit cards in real-time. It helps make sure people are sending and receiving money. Visa Direct is available in Asia-Pacific markets like Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

4. Contactless payment has become a necessity.

People need to avoid contact while shopping for their health and safety at the time of the pandemic. This is how Visa is helpful these days—in facilitating contactless transactions. For transactions that still need to be conducted in person, the company has ramped up its contactless efforts globally, including increasing spending limits that enable more PIN-free purchases.


5. Businesses require the right data and insights for decision-making.

Visa provides its clients and partners with access to data and analytics so they can understand the impact and effectiveness of the critical decisions they are making. Thus, online sellers can assess purchase risks using data from billions of transactions worldwide. The company has come up with an online directory of regional businesses to make it easier for consumers to locate and support them.


6. Buyers and sellers seek transparency and protection.

This crisis has brought about numerous disputes between buyers and sellers—as many plans have abruptly changed, events have been canceled, and destinations have closed. To resolve such disputes, Visa launched its Covid-19 Dispute Monitoring Program in April 2020.