Covid-19: Pandemic will speed up shift to eCommerce

Covid-19 will have a dramatic long-term impact on consumer shopping habits, speeding up the shift to online retail, a new study from Kantar suggests. Not only has the share of people who undertake 50% or more of their total purchases online grown by between 25-80% since the virus has developed, but six in 10 consumers intend to continue buying as much online once the pandemic has passed as they do now.

The survey of consumers in Europe’s three largest online retail markets: the UK, France, and Germany, indicates that retailers have an opportunity to bounceback from the crisis by moving to a more eCommerce-focused model once Covid-19 has ended. Whilst spending has mainly been limited to essential items such as groceries during the crisis, the study also found that 80% of consumers intend to return to shopping online for non-essential products later in the year.

Joakim Gavelin, founder of Detail Online commented: “During lockdown focus is on the main essentials, but this report indicates that all the major eCommerce categories will bounce back to even higher levels when the epidemic has passed.”

The non-essential retail categories which should see the biggest bounceback in 2020 are clothing and home electronics, with 50-60% of respondents stating they plan online purchases in these areas later in the year.

Gavelin added: “2020 is not lost. Right now, there’s a huge potential for brand owners to increase online sales in 2020. This report tells us that the change in consumer behaviour that many expected to take three to four years is instead happening in a few months. To be a winner in this you need to have as good control of your products online as you would at a physical retailer.”

The survey, which included a total of 3,162 people aged between 16-64, took place during the period 26-30 March 2020.