While COVID-19 and subsequent social distancing restrictions have triggered a boom for digital services, many Australian consumers intend to revert to in person experiences when it is safe to do so, according to a global survey by ForgeRock.

The identity management provider says it has created an imperative for businesses to optimise their online services to keep customers coming back to online channels.

ForgeRock surveyed 5,000 consumers in the U.S, U.K., Germany, Australia and Singapore on their experience with apps and online accounts, finding 45 per cent of consumers intend to continue using more online services post pandemic than they did before. It is less in Australia (40 per cent) but still represents one of the biggest digital rushes ever.

In Australia, digital service adoption increased by at least 15 per cent across all sectors during COVID-19, according to the ForgeRock study, with a quarter of new apps and services being embraced to replace previously offline-only activities.

Banking and government services to flourish locally according to the survey. 63 per cent and 58 per cent of respondents indicate they will continue to use online banking and government services respectively.

“The COVID-19 pandemic forced consumers to change how they engaged in everyday activities traditionally handled in-person, such as grocery shopping, doctor check-ups and going to the movies,” said Ben Goodman, SVP of global business and corporate development, ForgeRock. 

“While the survey found consumers plan to keep up many of their new digital habits even after stay-at-home restrictions lift, it’s clear their tolerance for poor digital experiences is thin and many won’t hesitate to switch apps for something that’s easier to use and delivers a better overall user experience.”

The survey suggests, In certain industries a clear majority of consumers intend to revert to in person experiences. For example, at least two thirds of consumers  intend to revert back to in-person activities for healthcare visits and grocery shopping.

Younger consumers (18-24 year olds) have led the online migration compared to other age groups and many intend to stay there. More than a third of them said their new apps and online services would completely replace in-person activities. 

But some older consumers have embraced online services too, according to the survey. Globally, 31 per cent of consumers aged 65 and older reported they plan to only shop online after stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.

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