We’ve heard the claim over and over again: “The pandemic accelerated digital adoption.”

Sixty-six percent of US consumers tried a new digital activity for the first time during the pandemic, according to Forrester’s February 2022 Consumer Energy Index And Retail Pulse Survey. While a vast majority of Gen Zers and Millennials embraced new digital behaviors, around half of Gen X, Boomers, and the Silent Generation did the same.

How will these new digital behaviors fare in the face of inflation and a potential recession? As this week’s earnings cycle has demonstrated, the digital pandemic adoption story is more complicated than a one-way adoption curve:

  • Peloton mismanaged its golden opportunity, as hardware supply chain disruptions couldn’t keep up with demand, with fitness-as-a-service strategies struggling to calibrate to dynamic workout behaviors.
  • Netflix has stumbled into saturation, as content proliferates across competitors, prices are raised, and account-sharing crackdowns attempt to spur new account growth.
  • Crypto exuberance has fallen like the fleeting petals of a tulip, as untethered value shivers in the face of inflation, stablecoin experiments falter, and NFT markets flatline.

We’re in a deeply unsettled, volatile moment — and change is here to stay. Consumers recognize that the pandemic lingers and variants continue to emerge: As of late April, 53% of US online adults were afraid of the rise of coronavirus variants. Meanwhile, workplaces have reopened with reactive policies responding to employee feedback and fluctuating case rates. A war rages between Russian and Ukraine, disrupting global supply chains and the foundations of geopolitical order. Inflation dramatically influences consumers’ confidence and behaviors.

This uncertainty means that consumer preferences and contexts are in constant flux and that business leaders can’t keep chasing that “new normal.”

CX and tech leaders: Support digital fluidity to meet customers’ needs in turbulent times. The infrastructure that was laid in the early days of the pandemic can continue to serve customers’ varied needs and preferences across all kinds of experiences, channels, and contexts. Future fit firms that support digitally fluid customer experiences will enable consumers to feel empowered.

To understand these dynamic and digitally fluid preferences, behaviors, and expectations, it’s important to take a multimodal, data-driven approach to analyze what consumers want and why. We’ll do just that in our CX North America session: Customer Expectations For Digital Fluidity Raise The Stakes For CX.

Join us according to your digitally fluid preference: at CX North America in Nashville or via the digital conference experience!