Understanding the COVID-19 Effect on Online Shopping Behavior
- 13 May, 2020
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COVID-19, a pandemic indeed! This problem is not going to end soon as it has spread across the globe. This is one of the defining events in 2020 and its impact will last for long.
The situation is continuously changing day by day. People are locked down in their houses for practicing social distancing. All the public gathering places like restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and gyms in major cities are shut down. All the educational institutions are closed and people working in the office have to work from home.
More importantly, people are now going to embrace the new reality and they have to live with it and have to stay connected online with one another. Another important thing that has seen a drastic shift in people’s behavior is the online shopping. The change has been done overnight. Instead of just buying the thing, people are now more focused on how to buy it, when to buy it, and what to buy.
With every passing day, more cities are going lockdown situation and this will force nonessential businesses to be closed for avoiding the public gathering. People will limit their shopping but there have to go out to buy the essentials. Keeping this situation in mind, brands are becoming more conscious and they want to be flexible enough to meet the changes.
Ordering Online Safe During COVID-19?
This is an important question in the mind of the majority of the people. COVID-19 has raised concerns in their mind and they are worried about their safety when receiving the online orders. According to experts, the virus can live on surfaces from three hours to three days depending on the type of material.
This situation has been addressed by the WHO. They said that it is safe to receive packages from locations that have reported COVID-19 cases. It is mentioned on their website that, “The likelihood of an infected person contaminating the commercial goods is low and the risk involved in catching the virus will cause COVID-19 from a package that has moved, traveled, and exposed to various conditions and temperature is also low.”
Product Categories Shifting In COVID-19
Note that people are making buying choices depending on new and ever-changing global and local circumstances. It is interesting to note that the product categories that are being purchased are changing.
According to the market research company Nielsen. Below are the six key consumer behavior thresholds tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and their impacts on markets.
Below are the things:
- Proactive health-minded buying (purchase of preventative health and wellness products).
- Reactive health management (purchase protective gear like masks and hand sanitizers).
- Pantry preparation (stockpiling groceries and household essentials).
- Restricted living (making few shopping trips, limited online fulfillment).
- Quarantine preparation (shortages in stores, making few stores visits).
- New normal routine (returning to daily routines, permanently changed supply chain).
As we are moving through these stages, below are some of the product categories that are mostly affected.
The next category is the consumer-packaged goods that are the shelf-stable items. These products are needed by the people who are planning for long-term quarantine. According to Nielsen, products like milk and milk substitutes (particularly oat milk) have risen up to 300% in dollar growth. Some other items that are seeing the increase in use are the dried beans and fruit snacks with a long shelf life.
2-Health and Safety Products
If you have faced empty shelves or see the increased prices online, then you should know that the health and safety products are being purchased fast than they are being produced and restocked. As per the data from Nielsen, items like hygienic and medical mask sales have increased by up to 300%.
3-Food and Beverage
Moving on, for long-term quarantine type items, groceries in general, sales are up. But there are some behavioral changes around the way people are going to do the shopping for groceries.
For instance, to avoid crowds at supermarkets, many people are choosing BOPIS (buy-online-pick-up-in-store) or delivery options. Apps like Instacart and Shipt are enabling people to hire personal shoppers to deliver their grocery orders. This has been increased by 124% (for Shipt) and 218% (for Instacart). People are buying these items from online stores more than before.
As people are staying at home, so the digital streaming services are getting the benefits. Streaming services like Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, and Disney+ have seen an increase in their subscribers in the first quarter of 2020. On the other hand, non-traditional streaming services like movie studios are releasing on-demand and media streaming earlier before the projected release.
The products and services are increasing their sales but there are some industries that are not performing well. Some of the obvious industries are entertainment, restaurants, and travel, that have faced significant losses
According to Vogue Business, there is a loss of $10 billion to this industry in 2020. The buying power of people has been reduced.
6-Fashion and Apparel
Big fashion brands have closed their brick and mortar store due to COVID-19 and this industry is also seeing a huge decline in the sales. This is also one of the luxury goods that people use to but for their different events. Now, everyone is locked so there is no need for people to buy such things. In fashion apparel, jewelry, clothes, cosmetics, and other items are included.
7- Online Jewellery Market
Just like many other online businesses, online jewelry business is also affected by the COVID-19 situation. As we have discussed that consumer’s buying power is getting reduced due to the final conditions, so buying jewelry will be also decreased.
Jewelry is a luxury items that people buy to look good and this industry has a huge number of buyers because it is the desire of every person to look good. Everyone tries to update their wardrobe according to the latest trends, so they are also following jewelry trends to stay in fashion. But now as the situation is different, people are more focused on buying the everyday essentials like food, medicines, and sanitation products. This is important to survive in lockdown and to keep themselves safe.
Hopefully, now you can clearly see the impact of COVID-19 on the business all over the globe. Industry-related to everyday life products and health is increasing. Industries like fashion, luxury is seeing a decrease in their sales because the buying power of people is reduced.