How COVID-19 has Affected Online Shopping Behavior?


The global pandemic, COVID-19 has affected everyone’s lives in myriad ways irrespective of where they live. Places where thousands of people roamed carelessly have been spotted empty for days or weeks at a stretch.

COVID has forced many shop retailers to go digital in a massive way. It has affected the psychology of buyers who weren’t prone to shop online and has brought in this new wave of change.

According to certain surveys, buyers and sellers (more than 3 quarters) now prefer digital shopping without any human interaction rather than traditional face-to-face shopping. This change has observed continuation post-lockdown too.

Safety is the primary reason, but some of the other reasons like convenience in choosing, no physical hard-work, and home delivery are some of the prominent reasons that’ve prompted people to shop online.

According to the numbers predicted by ‘Digital Commerce 360’, COVID-19 Pandemic will account for an additional 40 billion USD in online holiday revenue in November and December 2020. Before the pandemic started eCommerce companies couldn’t reach this number for another 4 years. Along with this, the in-store sales are predicted to decline by 3.7% each following year.

Coronavirus and Panic Buying:

As the COVID situation got worse WHO declared it as a global pandemic. People were ordered by the government to stay in their houses and strict rules and regulations were laid out for the ones not following the orders. This created panic among citizens and they decided to stock-up their houses with goods and other necessary household items to survive well.

It’s a normal human tendency to respond in unprecedented ways when under panic. We would do almost anything just to feel some control over the situation. A consumer psychologist stated that we adhere to these three fundamental psychological needs i.e. ‘Autonomy’ (the need to feel in control of your actions), competence (the need to feel that you’re a smart shopper doing the right thing), and relatedness (the need to feel that we’re doing something for our families).

One of the reasons why people have started with online shopping during COVID is the misconceptions and uncertainty that makes way for contradictory information and confuses people. As people are too confused with all this information from multiple sources, they will always over prepare rather than remaining underprepared.

The other reason is the herd mentality. When we see everyone around us stocking up their shelves, we will think about the scarcity of necessary products that can arise. This fear motivates us to stock-up so that we aren’t left hanging in the dry.

How Safe it is to Order Online During COVID?

Seeing the way people are getting affected by the COVID virus, people are skeptical about ordering online. But as per the expert findings on the subject, the virus can survive on any surface for 3 hours up to 3 days all depending on the kind of materials used.

That said if you imagine the back process that goes behind the packaging of your goods to getting them delivered at your doorstep, it’s a pretty long one. So, there are less than minimal chances of a product being infected from the time of its packaging to the time it reaches you. In addition to this, the eCommerce companies also offer a highly protective environment while packaging and sending goods. So, the chances of you getting affected by the product are not likely. You can also disinfect the package as soon as it arrives if you feel too conscious about it.

To our benefit, the World Health Organization (WHO) has addressed these concerns on their website saying: “The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.”

Online Purchases Over Different Age Groups:

We’ve seen that people all over the world, belonging to different age groups have responded differently to COVID. A wide array of behaviors have been observed as the circumstances changed over the last 6 months. Let’s have a look at how different generations have responded to the pandemic.

  • Millennials & Generation Z:

    While the growing pandemic has been a matter of concern for everyone there have also been major transitions in the way younger generations are observing a behavior change.

    As reported by a survey of the consumers in the US and the UK, it has been noted that 96% of millennials and Gen Zs are concerned with the pandemic and how it has affected the economy. The concerns have caused a change in their behavior due to which the younger generations are spending less on unimportant experiences, keeping a check on their spending, and stocking up necessary items.
  • Boomers & Generation X:

    Boomers and Gen X are not letting the coronavirus and economic turbulence affect their online shopping habits as the younger generations. About 34% of Gen X and 24% of the Boomers are concerned with the items they purchase as opposed to half the millennials.

Change in Shopping Behavior Based on Gender:

There is enough data for us to examine a change in shopping behavior based on age groups, but changes in the same are also observed based on gender. Some data related to the same can be learned below.

  • Women are more concerned about the effects of COVID-19.
  • The pandemic’s effect on how much one spends on product has been reported by one-third of the men, as compared to 25% of the women.
  • COVID affecting other experiences like travel, restaurants, etc. has been reported by 36% of the men as compared to 28% of the women.
  • Men have also been reported shopping online to avoid in-store experiences more than women.

    The above ratios also include other in-store options like BOPIS (buy online, pick-up in-store), subscription services, and curbside pickup.

Effect on Revenue in E-commerce:

As people all over the world are adhering to the norms of social distancing, brick-and-mortar shopping has surely taken a hit. This would only leave people with the option to shop online to avail the products and services which they otherwise purchased in person.

But is this the correct prediction? The underlying reality is that eCommerce sales haven’t surged for all the products available online but some industries have seen significant upticks. This holds true for sellers of groceries and household goods. For example, the largest online household retailer has seen its sales quadruple over the last year. Other than this a survey conducted by ‘Engine’ revealed that there is a 10 – 30% increase in the online sales of products and goods since the pandemic.

Top 5 Categories who Observed a Sale Surge since COVID-19:

  • Electronics (25 percent)
  • Cosmetics (22 percent)
  • Accessories (20 percent)
  • Home Goods (45 percent)
  • Clothing (29 percent)

Technource and Ecommerce Development:

COVID has changed the way people perceived online shopping. The ease that online shopping invites in people’s lives is incomparable to in-store shopping. The ‘Anytime-Anywhere’ convenience is the best part of shopping online. The times are changing with each passing month. Borders are re-opening while the restrictions within different states are also getting liberalized. It’s just a matter of time that the online markets catch-up with its original sales figures that they managed to achieve before the pandemic.

Technource – a well-reputed name in the IT service sector has worked on various eCommerce and On-Demand projects over the years. Our decade long tech experience has given us many opportunities where we’ve built scalable and successful mobile and web applications. 

The two evident examples of the same are ‘Skeykim & Skeymart’ and ‘Konferge’. The first is an eCommerce web, iOS, and Android app that allows its customers with parcel shipment and taxi booking service. While the second is a web application that helps its users trade photos. Users can avail of photos in digital as well as hard copies. Users can also frame their favorite photos while ordering from the website.

Our other services include MVP development, technical assistance after project completion, the inclusion of Industry 4.0 techs to enhance product presentation, and much more. We’ve inculcated expertise in web and mobile development through years of hard work and persistence and we’re ready to take on any challenge you throw our way. So, let’s connect at the earliest and create cool things together.

Mr. Sanjay Rajpurohit has always been a venturer. An engineer who became an early aged entrepreneur. He shares his time between his On Demand App Development and other ventures named Technource, Eminent Academy, and Tuitment and is still exploring the world of software technologies.