When countries around the world locked down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer behavior had no choice but to change. Let’s take a closer look at those changes and what we can learn from them.
The Switch to Online Shopping
It should come as no surprise to learn that consumers have been purchasing more items online since the beginning of the pandemic and lockdowns. With many brick-and-mortar businesses closed, and more people working from home and staying at home, e-commerce has become the new normal way to buy goods. So, many businesses are seeing a much greater percentage of sales online. According to statistics compiled by McKinsey & Company, food and household products have seen a global average growth of more than 30% online since countries locked down because of the coronavirus. The study also showed that more consumers are expected to purchase items online post-virus than ever before.
With such a growing trend for online products, the delivery service industry has been booming, and delivery companies have had to step up to ensure they can meet customer demand. That means implementing new technologies for more efficient operations. For instance, it has become important for delivery companies to use the best routing software and proof of delivery apps to ensure products are delivered safely, securely, and on time.
Consumers Want More Digital Products
The growth of the online sector is not only about consumers buying more products on the web. It is also about more businesses moving into virtual spaces to keep up with consumer demand. For example, according to Accenture, 46% of people who had never previously worked from home now plan to work from home more in the future. Therefore, online services that are crucial to working from home, such as Zoom for virtual meetings, are in huge demand. In the UK alone, according to Apptopia, Zoom was downloaded 56,000 more times on 23 March compared to two months earlier.
As both businesses and consumers spend more time online, more retailers are looking to capitalize on the consumer behavior shift. They are coming up with new technological solutions, such as apps and digital-only services, to meet consumer demand.
More Consumers Are Buying Necessities and Cutting Back on Non-essentials
In most countries affected by COVID-19, consumers have been shifting their spending to buying more essentials and cutting back on discretionary product categories. With so much uncertainty about the future of economies and with many people panic-buying before lockdowns being implemented, it is little surprise that consumers are buying more necessities than wants. However, in both India and China, spending is beginning to go beyond grocery and household supplies.
More Consumers Are Supporting Local Commerce
Local buying has really taken off in a big way in different countries since the pandemic and lockdowns. Consumers are more willing than ever before to shop locally to help retailers on their doorstep stay in business. More customers are also buying local-sourced products.
The trend of going local does not look as though it will disappear any time soon, even after the world returns to normality. Local businesses are adapting their inventories to meet new local demand and are gaining new loyal customer bases.
How optimistic are consumers about economic conditions post-COVID-19?
Consumer sentiment varies a lot across different countries impacted by COVID-19. According to McKinsey & Company, consumers in China, Indonesia, and India consistently report showing higher optimism about the future of the economy post-pandemic than other countries. Consumers in Japan and Europe are much less optimistic about their economic conditions after COVID-19. Only time will tell what the world’s economic recovery will actually be like.