Understanding the COVID-19 Effect on Online Shopping Behaviour

A lot of people have noticed that despite the fact that the majority of industries are struggling, e-commerce seems to be doing better than ever despite the COVID-19 epidemic. In fact, it wouldn’t be preposterous to claim that the pandemic and all its side-effects (social distancing, lockdowns, self-isolation, etc.) have made their contribution to the growth of the industry. Brick and mortar retail stores are no longer safe, so online orders are a preferable option. However, it’s not just the logistics that are changed (even though we’ll briefly cover this topic, as well). People’s online shopping behaviour has altered over the past several months, as well. Here are several things you need to understand about this.

1. Stockpiling supplies

The first thing worth mentioning is that as soon as the crisis was public and the lockdowns were announced, people started stockpiling supplies, believing that there might be a shortage in the nearest future. Ironically, it was the fear of these shortages that led to shortages, to begin with. Once the stores were empty, people turned towards e-commerce. Now, seeing as how a lot of countries started alleviating measures that they previously held, some of these people were now left with tons of supplies on their hands. Needless to say, these people are now turning towards online marketplaces in order to sell these items and regain at least some of their funds back.

2. Ordering items that they previously bought in person

The next thing you need to keep in mind is that there are some people who always preferred to buy things in person. Nowadays, out of the fear of COVID-19, even these people are shifting towards online purchases. This is one of the most important reasons why, in the scenario where the majority of industries are on a rapid decline, e-commerce seems to be rampantly growing. Also, the fact that the majority of e-commerce businesses offer door-to-door delivery, means that this form of purchase is life- and health-saving.

3. Hospitality industry

Another thing worth mentioning is the fact that the hospitality industry has probably taken the hardest hit. After all, people no longer eat at restaurants and, since there is no longer that much tourism, hotels are emptier than they ever were before. On the other hand, people tend to order takeout food, which is why these restaurants may still be quite busy. When it comes to their business model, the fact that they no longer have to keep that big of a waiting staff reduces their overhead. The same goes for the maintenance of the restaurant itself since the kitchen is all that needs to be functional.

4. The logistics are struggling

Since the delivery of goods is harder than ever (due to the fact that some businesses have closed their borders), the logistics are currently quite hard to execute. This is especially true in international delivery which, although complex, isn’t impossible. With the help of seasoned freight forwarder retailers all over the globe can get the items their customers need in time. Since the industry is currently facing a no small amount of uncertainty, having transparency when it comes to freight forwarding is one of the most important things to keep in mind.

5. More careful about how they spend their money

Seeing as how unemployment is on a rapid rise, as well, it’s important to mention that people are a lot more careful with their money. This means that they’re less likely to act on impulse purchases, which is a huge setback for the majority of the retail industry. Also, seeing as how they’re buying essential supplies in larger quantities, they have substantially less money to set aside for these impulse purchases.

6. DIY kits

A lot of people are interested in mastering new skills. Now, with the lockdown, they finally have the time to pursue this passion of theirs. For instance, some people want to try making gourmet meals, which is why they may order some new kitchenware and ingredients and follow their favourite cooking YouTube channels. Others may try sewing, making model aeroplanes or ships and many other things. This is a hobby that could turn into a passion. Moreover, it could also open up some new and exciting career options (even if it’s just a side-income).

7. Exercise equipment

Another thing that a lot of people are trying nowadays is to do some self-improvement while in self-isolation. What better way to do so than with some exercise equipment? Pull-up bars, push-up handles, barbells, kettlebells, skipping ropes and similar other pieces of equipment can give one the privilege of doing a whole body workout at home. Other than this, avid runners might want to consider getting a treadmill for their home. Ever since the lockdown was issued and due to the fact that the majority of people had no idea when it will end, this was really inevitable.

8. Board games

Since they’re bored senseless, people all over the globe are ordering items like board games and chess sets online. The thing about these is the fact that (same as with exercise equipment), these are one-time purchases. Sporting sets like baseball gloves and badminton rackets are also in high demand, seeing as how they are something that can provide fun for the entire family. As for digital entertainment, the number of bought e-books, video games and streaming service users are at their all-time-high. Overall, people are bored, which makes the entertainment industry (in all its formats thrive).

In conclusion

The very last thing you need to keep in mind is that, as the situation progresses, online shopping behaviour may evolve even further. Moreover, it’s vital that your bear in mind the fact that the majority of the above-listed methods tend to be incredibly convenient, safe and pragmatic. This is why one of the biggest questions regarding it is what happens next? After it’s safe to return to the traditional retail model, will people still have the reason to do so? Would they want it to? Needless to say, it all depends on the outcome of the pandemic and the state of the global economy in the aftermath.

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