Photo: Freepik

New Data Predicts Permanent Changes To Shopping Habits Due To Coronavirus

Online shopping is gaining traction now more than ever as companies struggle to stay afloat and consumers adapt to the current circumstances of lockdown and social distancing. According to Eurostat, the European statistical office, 60% of the EU population shopped online in 2019, almost double the same figure from 2009 (32%). It is expected that the current restrictions of freedom of movement in European countries due to coronavirus will result in further increases in online sales, and that this trend will continue even when the shops reopen. Photo credit: Freepik.

Brno, Apr 21 (BD) – According to an April 2020 Eurostat study on online shopping trends in the EU, e-commerce is projected to experience substantial growth, as social distancing and store closures narrow shopping options for consumers.

The data from 2019 showed that Scandinavian countries were the biggest online shoppers; Denmark topped the list, with 84% of people having shopped online in the previous year, and Sweden came in second with 82%. The Czech Republic’s figure was 64%, above the European Union average of 60%. Similar numbers were reported in Austria (62%) and Belgium (66%).

Share of population that shop online. Source: Eurostat.

Based on this report, men did 3% more online shopping than women. Regarding the different age categories of consumers, the biggest jump over the last 10 years was among internet users between 25-34 years, from 46% in 2009 to 79% in 2019. There was a 20% increase among those between 65-74 years of age.

These numbers are expected to surge as more businesses open online sales channels to maximise their revenue during these difficult conditions, while consumers are embracing the flexibility that comes with online shopping, the ability to sample and compare a wide range of products, shops and prices from the comfort of their home, and the possibility of having goods delivered to their doorstep.

The Global Pandemic Is Changing Both Businesses and Consumers

Businesses are expected to take this opportunity to shift their retail operations to the virtual environment and increase automation in their production and logistical processes. This global pandemic is both a reminder and a motivation for all retailers to be agile and innovative. 

New e-shops are mushrooming in the Czech Republic. The Czech company Shoptet, which provides e-commerce solutions, announced 270 new e-shops in the first week after the state of emergency was introduced, compared to a weekly average of 130.

Another example of new trends in the economy comes from the American company Global Payments, whose branches (incl. Czech) recently launched a new application that allows products to be sold online without the need for an e-shop. The application, GP easy2sell, allows businesses to sell their goods on social networks or through a payment link without having to have set up an e-shop and understand online sales. The seller takes pictures of their merchandise, adds a description and price, and posts it on social media. The link for payments can be also sent to customers via email, SMS, or messenger services like WhatsApp.

Current data suggests that even when the COVID-19 pandemic is over, consumer shopping habits will have changed permanently. According to a survey by CCN, many American grocery delivery platforms, including Instacart, Walmart Grocery and Shipt, are reporting huge sales increases, including some customers who are trying online grocery shopping for the first time. Many of these new e-shoppers are likely to switch permanently as they get used to it. According to a survey by eMeals, a meal planning service, 97% of people who order groceries online will continue to do so in the future.

Article prepared by Antonis Dimosthenous and Beatrice Rono

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