17 Jun 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely impacted our lives to a very large extent and it would not be wrong to say that it is definitely an event with implications that might well last for a decade. We are grappling with the current situation in hand and indeed living in unprecedented times.
The changes are especially evident in the way people shop. The pattern of buying is changing from bulk to online and also the time and mode.
People are avoiding public places and non essential businesses are closing. Therefore brands are adapting to the new change.
In this article we have put together some facts on how the shopping behaviour is changing, the products people are buying. the numbers and also which businesses might feel the maximum strain due to the current situation.
How safe is online shopping in recent days?
Some shoppers are also dubious about receiving their online orders as they fear whether they might get infected due to the virus. Studies have found that the virus can survive on surfaces from 3hours up-to 3days based on what material you are ordering but it is still early to predict the exact picture as studies are going on regarding this.
According to studies the risk of spread of virus from products or packaging shipped over a period of time at particular temperatures is very low.
Purchasing patterns of different generations during COVID-19
The younger generations are definitely altering their purchasing behaviour and in the U.K and U.S 96% of them are curbing their spending, stocking up and indulging very little on shopping experiences.
When compared to millennials older generations are less concerned about the virus impacting their shopping habits and the percentage bothered is only 34 when compared to half of the millennials.
A look at the shopping behavior between men & women
As it is evident that there is a change in shopping habits with a generational gap, similarly there is also change based on gender.
The survey from CNBC shows that 25% of women as compared to 1/3rd of men have shown concerns over the way they spend. Also 36% of men as compared to 28% women have shown reluctance in spending for experiences like travel, restaurants, entertainment etc.
How the eCommerce landscape has changed
Even though social distancing norms have forced people to shift to online shopping there has not been a considerable increase in the eCommerce market for all products, but for some products the growth has been there. There has definitely been an increase in the percentage of people spending online from 10 to 30% according to a survey by Engine.
There has been a huge spike in the grocery eCommerce market by the second week of march as more people started to buy online as part of the social distancing norms issued by governments.
eCommerce categories other than grocery
The eCommerce market also covers a wide variety of products other than grocery items and by following the graph below which is based on the common thread collective we can get a fair idea of how the eCommerce market has been for different products.
Definitely eCommerce sales do not seem to be skyrocketing but the subscription and convenience services have seen a considerable jump both in terms of revenue and conversions.
Online purchase category changes during COVID-19
As the circumstances of our living are changing due to COVID-19 so are our buying preferences. A market research company has identified six key consumer behaviour as a result of the pandemic and their result in the market.
- Proactive purchasing on health and wellness products
- Purchase of health management accessories like gloves, masks etc
- Stocking groceries and household items
- Preparing for quarantine ( Fewer store visits)
- Curbed lifestyle ( which means very few shopping trips)
- The new normal ( an altered supply chain and return to daily routines)
Source: Nielsen Retail Measurement Services
As we go through such a phase the entire shopping pattern of people is disrupted and changed. Let us take a look how?
- Safety and health related products
The increase in purchase of health and safety products is as big as 300% as data shows that health and safety products are bought faster before the next batch of stock arrives
- Products with more shelf life
The sale in products with more shelf life is definitely on the rise as people are going into quarantine and dried beans, fruit snacks, oat milk and shelf stable milk products are in high demand
- Food and Grocery stocking
The sales in groceries are definitely high but there is some change in the pattern in which the customers are buying them. To stick more closely to social distancing norms many people are buying online.. This fact becomes even more evident as we take a look at the increased percentage of usage of apps like Shipt and Instacart among customers.
“According to Shipbob the monthly increase in online sales of food & Grocery is 18.8% during this time”
There has been a phenomenal growth in the number of subscribers for different digital streaming channels like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Disney plus as more people are trying to find mediums of entertainment sitting at home due to the virus.
Even though some areas of business are doing great there are some which has been negatively impacted due to COVID-19 and that is the luxury goods section. The estimated loss by Vogue Business in this area is around $ 10 billion.
Even the fashion and apparel industry have suffered huge losses as people are in an uncertain situation and don’t want to spend on things that can definitely wait. Big chains like Nike, Abercrombie & Fitch are all shutting down their physical stores and also feeling losses.
Source: Common Thread Collections
Now is the time for eCommerce to take charge as the situation is quite unprecedented
The sales of major companies like Shipbob, Shiphero etc indicate that now is the right time for eCommerce to act as more people prefer buying online and there is a phenomenal growth in the sale of many products. According to statistics there is a growth of 52.20 % in sales through eCommerce. Therefore this is the right time for eCommerce to help consumers and make profits at the same time.
What challenges and opportunities are presented to us with the COVID-19 eCommerce data?
The data brings forth some very interesting facts and events.
It shows that the confidence of the consumer has declined hampering the conversion rates. Due to less traffic the money spent on advertising has reduced.
On huge auction based platforms like Google and Facebook, prices decreased due to lack of competition.
Challenges and opportunities in the eCommerce business
The eCommerce businesses are propelling forward in a quick manner due to the current situation, but with the possibilities of the spreading of COVID-19 still looming over our heads it is imperative that people will continue purchasing through online methods but providing them with unmatched services is a challenge that major eCommerce players should live upto. For businesses who are just starting it out in the online world here is a guide on how to start your successful online