The COVID-19 pandemic has, in essence, changed what we considered as “normal” life and has impacted the way we live, the way we work, shop, socialise and so much more. A key aspect that has been affected has been consumer behaviour and habits with an increasing dependency on online shopping. As lockdowns begin carefully ease in various parts of the world, it’s imperative to consider the consumer habits will stay beyond the lockdowns and possibly COVID-19.
Increased Dependency on Online
Though pre-covid, eCommerce sales were already on the rise, the pandemic has surely fast-forwarded the growth of eCommerce. With the majority of the stores closed during the lock-down, barring essentials and groceries, many turned to online shopping for groceries. Categories such as personal care and home saw a sharp increase in online sales. Elderly and those deemed as a high-risk category were completely dependent on online shopping to meet their basic needs such as groceries.
It’s safe to say that eCommerce and online shopping has been a saviour for many. Those that would previously shop in-store have now been pushed over to shopping online. This led to an increased usage of eCommerce around the world. See our market tracker where we tracked online traffic and sales for 68 markets.
New “Normal” to Push Consumers Towards Online
While we are still gathering what exactly life will look like in the new “normal”, with the social distancing restrictions in place, the experiential aspect of shopping in-store will never be the same.
Under the new “normal”, often there are long queues outside stores with limitations on the number of products one can buy. High in demand stores such as Ikea in Ireland saw hundreds of customers queuing while some had arrived to stand in the queue at 5.30 am. For sanitation purposes, many will not be able to try on clothes before purchasing. In addition, there will always be a sense of cautiousness when in-store. As a result, many brands will look to provide an enhanced consumer experience online instead of through AI and personalisation.
eCommerce Sales will grow post-covid-19
It’s vital to consider how online sales will be impacted as lockdowns are slowly and carefully lifted in different parts of the world. Our key prediction is that online sales will continue to grow even post COVID-19. Research by Accenture found that 64% of respondents feared for their health and 82% for the health of others. While demand may drop initially, some consumer habits may stick beyond COVID-19. Many consumers will permanently stick with shopping online due to convenience.
Our dynamic market tracker that has been tracking the traffic and sales performance of several countries around the world. The trend that we are seeing is that while initially online sales saw a sharp increase, sales are now beginning to level off, but at a higher level than they were at before COVID-19.
Our key prediction is that while online sales are levelling off, eCommerce has surely seen significant growth in the past few months and will continue to grow beyond COVID-19. The driver of this will be convenience and safety. Consumers no longer have to trade their safety for a better experience. Many brands and retailers have quickly adapted to the current scenario and are providing an enhanced consumer experience online.
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