Study: Pandemic presents value-added opportunity online

COVID-19 is having a huge impact on farmers' purchasing practices, according to new research by leading global consultancy, McKinsey & Company. The survey of financial decision-makers at farms across Europe reveals that 95 percent of farms are considering adjusting purchasing behavior to minimize physical interactions in response to the pandemic.

Digital purchasing may provide the answer, with McKinsey uncovering an increase in both farmers' desire to use digital channels to make product-purchase decisions, up from 51 percent in 2019 to 87 percent post-COVID-19, and their desire to use digital channels to make actual purchases reaching 69 percent. However, researchers say only 22 percent of farmers surveyed have made an online purchase over the past 12 months as of May.

As attitudes shift in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, companies in the agriculture industry have an opportunity to accelerate their online presence, work out omnichannel strategies, and perhaps even change their business models to better meet farmers' needs.