There have been vast changes in the behaviour of shoppers across the world, with the rise of the Coronavirus, from ‘panic’ buying and shopping online. All this fear of coming out of ‘self-isolation’ and going into public places to shop, is turning consumers to make purchases online, providing opportunities for e-commerce businesses to grow over the foreseeable future. With people making the change to digital options, as a means to avoid physical shopping, there is the potential for this trend to continue well into the future, even after the COVID-19 virus settles down.
It is not uncommon for e-commerce sales to peak during the holiday seasons, with studies showing that this can be around 3%. The same is likely for these uncertain times. Over the years, it has been seen that this increase in online spending over the holiday season often continues into the following months, which means more consumers are less inclined to return to previous behaviours, and this could potentially happen over the next few months.
The proportion of online sales relies heavily on category; with things such as electronics and clothing being at the top, and food items are at the lower end. People are turning to online methods for purchasing groceries to avoid physical shops, whether it be home deliveries or click and collect. Although these may see a more drastic increase in sales over the next few months, these are likely to return back to normal once the outbreak settles, whereas the other categories are likely to retain some of their online customers, due to reluctance to return to past behaviours.
With many countries such as Italy and China imposing ‘lockdowns’ and many shops in The UK closing, people are being left with little opportunity to purchase products in-store, and forcing them to turn to digital methods. The same is true for product shortages, with many pharmacies running out of products such as hand sanitisers.
Over the course of the year 2020, the e-commerce market is expected to rise by $666.28 billion (12.8%), but with the change in consumers purchasing behaviours in the year's first quarter are likely to impact this and have effects on future sales, especially during the holiday season.