The Covid-19 effect on E-commerce and Online Trends

What’s the impact of Covid-19 on E-commerce and online trends? Definitely, Covid-19 global pandemic will be one of the defining events of 2020 and its implications will last well into the decade. Many governments enforced stay at home measures and social distancing, leading consumers towards online shopping, expanding e-commerce sales and differentiating online consumer trends.

Store closures expanded e-commerce sales up to 61% within the first weeks, while the weekly spend for online orders increased by 74% and 93% of pre-quarantine periods, as consumers rushed to stock up on goods that were no more available via physical shops. In addition, apart from the shift from offline to online, there has been a change in purchasing behavior with regards to the types of products consumers are buying. Specifically, the categories which saw their shares augmented are entertainment, hobbies, food and beverages, while the areas that suffered the most significant drop in sales are automotive, beauty, personal care and fashion products.

Thinking about the reasons that influence the consumer buying behavior during the Covid-19 time, three are the most dominant: The raw demand, the maturity of e-commerce  channels prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the  availability of the product in the physical store. For instance, traditionally people tend to buy foods and beverages in offline retail shops, something that has now changed due to the fact that people are avoiding supermarket visits during this period. Since the majority of the worldwide population is staying at home, consumers tend to choose items that can make time spent at home more enjoyable.

Moreover, it’s very interesting to investigate the effect that Covid-19 has across generations, with consumers of different age groups, as well as sexes, responding in a different way. While one may expect the younger generations, such as millennials and generation Z to be less concerned about the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been noticed that the majority worry, with that concern leading to a change in behavior which is more dramatic than that of other generations. They reduced their spending, stocked up on items, and spent less on experiences.

On the other hand, older generations such as generation X and baby boomers, are less concerned and they tend to change their habits less. Furthermore, there are variations based on gender, with women being more likely to be concerned about the pandemic effects and men being more likely to change their shopping habits. Finally, men were also found to prefer shopping online and avoiding in-store experiences more than women.

Covid-19 is a pandemic that is here to stay, with many consumers avoiding the return to traditional ways of shopping, due to the fear of getting sick. Seemingly, the post Covid-19 reality is that households will continue to turn to e-commerce for needs such as food, apparel and entertainment, developing new online shopping habits long after the Covid-19, and redefining the retail landscape.

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