Fear of a virus outbreak tends to alter consumer behavior and demand patterns. With COVID-19 concerns continuing to rise, consumers are being more vigilant about shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. Consequently, they are increasing their use of online shopping as a way to fulfill their needs.
Coronavirus has the potential to create more permanent behavioral changes in the way consumers shop.
Coronavirus has the potential to create more permanent behavioral changes in the way consumers shop. The world may have encountered pandemics before, but novel coronavirus is unique, and the introduction of this virus has already started to radically reshape almost all forms of human interaction.
Social Distancing & Shopping Online
Considering the worry surrounding coronavirus, it’s easy to understand why consumers are maintaining social distancing and staying at home to avoid public areas. While there has been a change in the average consumer’s day-to-day activity, their household requirements are still the same. After having to go online for their purchases, it’s likely consumers will continue to embrace the online shopping experience long after the pandemic has ended.
Online shopping will continue to increase even after the coronavirus crisis ends.
Imagine there’s a popular online store that allows consumers to order their groceries and household items through an app. The consumer just has to choose when and where to receive their order and make their payment via the app. When their order is ready to be picked up, the consumer will get a message from the app and someone will deliver the items right to their car.
Why wouldn’t consumers pick this option over traditional in-store shopping?
It’s timesaving, convenient, and hassle-free when compared to physically going to the store, hunting down the items, and checking out the old-fashioned way. After using the app just once, consumers will notice this difference and want to use it more in the future, causing a permanent shift in consumer behavior.
Immediate Impacts of Selling Online During the COVID-19 Outbreak
According to Google Trends, online shopping has experienced a sudden surge for the past 90 days due to consumers’ inability to go outside and shop.
As we can see in the chart above, the global online shopping habit of consumers was relatively normal through the end of February. At the beginning of March, as the number of coronavirus cases began to rise, we can see online shopping patterns increase at almost the same rate of coronavirus cases. By the middle of March, as strict laws and regulations started to be placed by governments around the world asking people to avoid crowds and public areas, the rapid rise of online shopping became more evident.
The panic buying phenomenon caused by coronavirus fears has led consumers to stockpile resources in an unprecedented manner — creating a temporary scarcity in the market. This particular scenario has led consumers to shift more towards online shopping to meet their needs as store shelves remain empty. This spike in online demand for products could be a great opportunity for online retailers — not just in this period of crisis but also in the long run.
Future E-Commerce Trends After Self-Isolation Ends
We believe the largest impact will be on the seniors who were, up until this point, reluctant to use technology and preferred to shop at physical stores. The rise in online shopping from a whole new demographic like this would give a humongous boost to online retailers. Though we cannot be certain about the numbers, we do believe online shopping will continue to increase even after the coronavirus crisis ends.
Based on the Search data and analysis shared above, we at GrowByData would suggest e-commerce businesses change the layout of their enterprise to help meet consumer demands and set a new standard. As a result, consumers will move their buying behavior from offline to online. This prudent technique will definitely be beneficial for retailers in the coming days as consumers stop perceiving online shopping in the same way they did prior to this pandemic.