With the COVID-19 Pandemic prevailing in some regions dominantly across the world, people have now embraced social distancing for reducing the spread of infection. This has caused a dip in brick-and-mortar purchasing. However, people have now turned to online shopping to buy the items they might have otherwise purchased physically from stores. It has become one of the convenient ways to take care of their needs while staying confined at home. Many people have used online shopping, eCommerce to tide over these difficult times.
Changes in eCommerce revenue
Now, the question is -has the revenue of eCommerce increased with this new trend? In reality, eCommerce sales are not more; however, some industries have witnessed a surge in sales. This holds true for sellers of groceries and daily household items. For example, JD.com, the largest online retailer in China, had witnessed daily household items almost quadrupled over the same duration in 2020.
Again, a survey conducted by Engine discovered that today’s people spend about 10-30 percent more online.
Product categories that are shifting during the COVID-19 Pandemic
People are now choosing which products they want to buy online. The category of these products is constantly changing due to the circumstances in the region and globe shifting because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The purchasing needs of the people depend upon these circumstances.
As observed in market research conducted by Nielsen, it has detected six major consumer behavior trends associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic and their effects on the market. They have been listed as follows-
- Proactive health-oriented buying- purchasing products that are linked to wellness and preventative health
- Reactive health management- This refers to the buying of coronavirus protective gear like hand sanitizers and masks.
- Preparation for the pantry- stockpiling household essentials and groceries
- Quarantine preparation – the experience of shortages in online stores or making lesser visits to the store physically.
- Limited living- people are making much lesser shopping trips
- Embracing the new normal- Here, people are returning to their regular routines. However, here the supply chain has been altered permanently.
Professionals from the credible name in database consulting, management, and administration, RemoteDBA, state that as people progress through the above stages, the items they choose to purchase and the categories of products that are thriving are constantly changing. Businesses are frequently making changes to their e-commerce databases, and the following are some of the primary product categories that have been affected the most-
- Products associated with safety and health
Anyone facing empty shelves at stores or has seen prices fluctuating online knows that safety and health products are being bought faster than they can be manufactured and restocked. According to Nielson, there are items like the sales of medical masks and hygiene products have increased by over 300 percent.
- Shelf-stable products
There is a category of consumer-packed goods that are booming as shelf-stable items as they are chosen by people planning to go into quarantine. According to the Neilson reports, there are products like stable milk and milk substitutes like oat milk whose sales have gone up by over 300 percent in dollar growth. Other shelf items are witnessing an increase in sales, like fruit snacks and dried beans with a longer shelf-life.
- Digital streaming
With more and more people homebound and with no scope for external entertainment, 2020 witnessed an increase in the subscriptions for digital streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon. In addition, there are also non-conventional movie studios online that are releasing movies-on-demand much ahead of their projected release.
- Luxury goods
While all the products and services have increased in sales due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, other industries are not doing well. Besides the obvious ones like travel, restaurants, and entertainment, the luxury goods industries are experiencing huge losses. For example, projects related to Vogue Business experienced a loss that was as huge as $10 billion for 2020 due to the Pandemic. This was primarily because the industry relies a lot of the purchasing power of the Asian market, where the Pandemic has affected consumers from January 2020.
- Apparel and fashion
Like the luxury goods industry, apparel and fashion have not done well due to the Pandemic, and they are witnessing huge losses. This is primarily because they shut down their retail stores due to the lockdowns and the need for social distancing in places where the coronavirus has mutated into new strains. These losses started from 2020 and are now moving into 2021 as well.
Consumers, due to obvious reasons, are no longer interested in purchasing apparel in person. As a result, esteemed departmental stores like JCPenney and Macy’s and large shopping chains like Nike, Abercrombie & Fitch, and DTC brands with stores like Everlane and Rothys are closing their brick-and-mortar stores. This is making them experience huge losses.
Again, some stores like Patagonia are halting operations about their online stores to safeguard their staff working in the supply chain. Besides the above, online sales are down as people are more focused on buying essential goods and services.
When it comes to eCommerce and the fate of retail stores in the COVID-19 Pandemic, people try their level best to adjust to these new and strange times. They are trying to shift their purchasing approaches and behavior to survive in the new normal.
Business owners of consumer products and services are not sure where the Pandemic waves will take them. Some suddenly have started to see an upsurge in sales while others are experiencing miserable losses. Nevertheless, they are trying to support the needs of their customers and make an effort to survive in these uncertain times as well.
Depending upon the audience and industry, the response of businesses to the situation is changing. Business owners are aware of what their customers what and they are making a sincere attempt to serve them in the best ways as possible in the post-pandemic era.