Coronavirus has created an unprecedented social and economic situation globally. Sectors such as travel, hospitality, and non-essential retail have come to a screeching halt since March 2020. However, eCommerce has proved itself essential in days of social distancing and shut-down storefronts. Shoppers that can’t go to a brick-and-mortar instead turned to online shopping encouraging an unprecedented demand for consumer packaged goods, food and beverage delivery, educational software, health and wellness, and video conferencing software.
The rising penetration of the internet in the eCommerce industry has managed to attract a large pool of consumers towards online shopping. The global e-commerce market is expected to reach US$6.07 trillion in 2024, growing at a CAGR of 11.34%, for the period 2020-2024. Factors such as the use of smartphones and social media platforms, growth in third-party logistics, rise in use of mobile wallets, high preference of online shopping, increasing number of smartphone users, rapid urbanization, upsurge in disposable income and rising usage of the internet have driven the growth of the eCommerce market.
Consumer adaptations to online shopping
Increased adoption rates and favorable changes in the consumers’ mindsets towards online shopping have contributed to the e-commerce market globally. There is a significant increase in online purchases because many consumers are accepting it as the only option while others are purchasing products they have never considered previously. Stores could likely reopen to a flood of week-one returns but the traffic will subside eventually. It may take a long time or even a vaccine before consumers fully return to some semblance of pre-coronavirus shopping behaviors.
Diverse products and an influx of online shopping
Based on eCommerce sales numbers, Listrak reports a 40% increase in eCommerce revenue. In the face of rapidly changing consumer lifestyles and shopping habits, businesses are finding the need to pivot quickly to stay competitive in today’s landscape. Some eCommerce sellers are adding soaps and other hygiene products, medical supplies, or various DIY or self-care related products to meet consumer demands. Others have had to change their delivery models to offer curbside pickup or offer digital versions of their products/services to avoid shipping and fulfillment altogether.
Increase in coronavirus-related eCommerce stores
While the impact of coronavirus on consumer preferences and demands may last beyond the virus, life will return to normal — even if it’s a new normal. The rise of SaaS eCommerce platforms like BigCommerce and Shopify has lowered the barrier to entry to sell online — and that’s a positive thing for retailers providing quality products to their customers.
In response to the shifts in shopper needs and behavior, eCommerce businesses have become fully proactive — to react in real-time to changing information and situations around the world. When it comes to coronavirus, proactively addressing customer frustrations and fears (eg. delivery delays, out-of-stock products, the cleanliness of your warehouse) will support your brand’s reputation and encourage customer loyalty.