Over lockdown, businesses have shifted resources into digital product development to keep pace with a spike in demand for digital platforms, according to new data released by Pendo.

Pendo’s cloud platform has been tracking the usage and behaviours of users of 1500 digital platforms in the past six months, and has identified a huge increase in digital product engagement in a variety of key sectors. Overall, the usage of European-based SaaS platforms has increased by 50 per cent while the three sectors seeing the steepest peaks are the education sector (187 per cent), HR (89 per cent) and collaboration technologies (80 per cent).

Furthermore, the proprietary data shows that in-app activity (e.g. announcements, feature guides etc) has more than doubled (111 per cent) during the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to the same time last year. In addition, during the peak of the crisis, there was an uplift of 10 -15 per cent each month in businesses using their digital platforms to communicate crucial information such as guides and notifications to their customers. Perhaps most tellingly of all, there was a 15 per cent increase in behaviour analysis – showing that understanding the needs of their customers is becoming more of a priority.

As a result, a survey undertaken on behalf of Pendo by Opinium shows that three quarters (74 per cent) of businesses now believe that product engagement will be a primary growth driver in the immediate future, as the UK looks to drive out of the pandemic-induced recession.

This has resulted in increased investment in digital product development over the last few months, despite the impact the pandemic has had on the UK economy:

Enhanced investment in the development of digital products is a trend that was already underway before the pandemic, but that has been sped up – as identified in Gartner’s latest report on digitalisation in businesses, with 91 per cent of organisations engaged in some form of digital initiative, and senior business leaders making digitalization a company priority.

“For many companies, focus has shifted from revenue growth to customer retention, and they realize much of the customer journey happens inside their digital products,” Todd Olson, CEO and co-founder of Pendo, said. “By investing in products and using platforms like Pendo, they can help customers be more successful, which in the long-run, will have positive consequences, not only for the UK economy, but also for the quality of digital products.”

As a result of the move towards a product-led business strategy, 72 per cent believe that product teams will be significantly more involved in strategic decision making for the business – overseeing digital product development, innovation and customer experience, but also the growth of the business as a whole. The survey also confirms that product will become central to customer experience according to 74 per cent of businesses surveyed, while 69 per cent feel personalised product experiences will be more critical to success moving forward.

“The businesses that are listening to their customers, learning and adapting to what their users really need, and then building products that meet the demand, will flourish and drive the economy out of its current slump,” Olson concluded.

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