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Research – COVID effects on ecommerce

Impact of COVID-19 on Online Shopping Behavior

Research – COVID effects on ecommerce

Understanding the COVID-19 Effect on Online Shopping Behavior


Is no surprise to anyone that COVID-19 has shifted consumer’s behaviors and for business owners, it is important to understand and identify these trends to thrive during these trying times.

As underlying consequences of this global pandemic are set to be carried for the next decade to come business must prepare and adapt to new consumer trends.

Although having to shut down economic and social activities all of a sudden, forcing people to remain in isolation it has now become the new normal and with this being said people have started to get accustomed to this new lifestyle.

Consumers shopping trends

  • Purchase of necessities including medical and household supplies.
  • Bulk buying and stockpiling in essentials to make fewer trips to grocery stores
  • Safety concerns of receiving online packages
  • 96% of Gen Z and Millenials from the UK and US are highly concerned about the consequences of the pandemic.
  • Gen Z and Millenials have reduced their spending on experiences and are now stocking up on basic products
  • 24% of Boomers and 34% of Gen X although slightly concerned their shopping habits have changed as the situation unfolds
  • Women are more concerned about the pandemic consequences
  • Men are avoiding more in-store experiences than women, and would rather shop online
  • The pandemic has affected consumer spend to ⅓ of men compared to 25% of woman
  • Focused on proactive health minded products (such as vitamins)
  • Purchasing protective gear like masks and hand sanitizers.

Business challenges

  • Keep up with the demand for products at fair prices as people experience store shortages
  • Enable buy online, pick up in-store, curbside pick up and subscription services.

Industry trends

  • Reduced visits to brick-and-mortar stores
  • Increase in online shopping and e-commerce
  • According to Engine, people are spending on average 10-30% more online
  • Increase of approximately 250% in grocery related commerce. (Rakuten Intelligence, 2020)
  • Significant upward trends in subscription services
  • Shelf stable goods sales are up by more than 300% in dollar growth
  • Increase in digital streaming services
  • Luxury goods industry to suffer a loss of $10 billion dollars approximately

6 ways the coronavirus pandemic will impact e-commerce


1. Online shopping will go up

  • In April, US online sales increased 49% in comparison to the same month last year.
  • Out of 1,200 people surveyed in March, 90% of shoppers were hesitant to shop in stores due to COVID-19, and 45% expected online shopping to become a necessity (Retail System Research, 2020)
  • 55% of online consumers are ordering more online due to the virus
  • It is set to be a big shift to online shopping during back to school and holiday season

2. A recession will hurt retailers of discretionary products

  • Due to unemployment rise in March and April, online retailers are preparing for sales drop
  • Retailers predict online sales would fall 36% as they would increase by 38% (Digital Commerce 360)
  • Consumers prioritize products like food, healthcare products, household, and pet supplies
  • Apparel sales fell dramatically, provoking deep discounts by clothing retailers
  • In April, 73% out of 124 online apparel retailers were offering sales on their sites, out of those retailers 53% were offering a median of 40% in discounts.

3. Online retailers seek to diversify supply

  • Many online retailers in the US seek to reduce the dependency of Chinese suppliers

4. Omnichannel and mobile service take on greater importance

  • Retail chains with curbside pickup had an advantage as the pandemic spread
  • Retailer emphasizes the convenience of ordering through a mobile app and doing curbside pickup
  • Walmart Grocery App downloads increased by 460% in late March compared with January

5. Rethinking Amazon

  • 22% of retailers were making adjustments to marketplace strategies
  • 7% of the Top 1000 retailers in. essential categories sell on Amazon

6. Cash in the bank and strong credit take on added importance

  • Many retailers look to reduce costs, by having to furlough many employees.
  • Bigger retailers rely on bond selling to get past the contingency
  • Small retailers with reduced ability to raised money have a high chance to go out if a business

Retailers Selling Non-Essentials See Double & Triple-Digit Increases In Online Sales During COVID-19 Crisis


  • US-based direct to consumers business selling non-essential items experienced record-breaking online sales.
  • Online retailer categories saw an increase in sales of 74% compared to March of last year. (ACI Worldwide, 2020)
  • Revenue of 32,563 brands increased on average 65% during COVID-19 crisis

Non-essential products categories with increased sales

Home goods

  • As people stay at home, sales in home goods have increased
  • Sellers in the furniture category have seen an increase revenue, with an increase of sales of 220%
  • The sill, online indoor potted plant sellers saw an increase of 50% of their orders
  • Retailers have to deal with new online competitors

Athletic & loungewear

  • Athletic brand, Nobull saw an increase of 50% on sales
  • Lounge wear brand Rich Poorer sold three times more sweats after a stay at home policies were announced

Businesses must look to sell products relevant to customers needs nowadays and marketing efforts messages should reflect that.

How Covid-19 has changed shopper behaviour


  • Increase online orders by 21% in March 2020 vs March 2019
  • 41% out of 3,000 persons said they now shop online for products they usually ship in store
  • Increase of 25% of page views in March 2020 vs March 2019, due to the time consumers have to search for new products
  • Due to the decrease in products offers, people spend more time researching online since they can be purchasing from new brands they are unfamiliar with
  • Shoppers have increased the number of products bought online
  • Post-purchase interactions through emails have seen an increase of 54% in April
  • Before the pandemic, respondents’ main priorities when purchasing were quality (48%), price (47%) and brand (24%). Now, they’re mostly focused on availability (49%), price (36%), and quality (34%).
  • In April people may be moving past the necessity stage and are looking to prioritize categories such as entertainment

Trends in product categories

  • Browsing activity for apparel has increased but sales have decreased
  • Luggage and bags have seen a decrease in sales due to restricted travel
  • In April consumers have viewed the most pages for categories such as toys and games, arts and entertainment, animals and pet supplies, sporting goods over categories such as foods and beverages
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