ECommerce trends during the pandemic
Once COVID gained momentum, we saw new eCommerce trends gain traction. Fortunately, not all of these were bad for online business owners. Here are the major trends that changed eCommerce during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- eCommerce Skyrocketed During COVID: Predictably, eCommerce became more popular than ever before as brick-and-mortar stores closed down and fears of in-person interactions rose. This trend was already on its way to some degree thanks to the growing popularity of curbside pickup among grocery store customers. But the pandemic made online shopping more attractive than the IRL alternative across the board.
By mid-April 2020, year-over-year online revenue growth had already increased by an astounding 68%. According to McKinsey: “[eCommerce] surged during the pandemic” with its share of all retail sales increasing “by two to five times its pre-pandemic rate across eight countries representing 45 percent of the world’s population and more than 60 percent of global GDP – China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.”
- Online Grocery Shopping Became the Norm: BOPIS and curbside pickup were already becoming popular before many stores had to close their doors to in-person shopping. While grocery stores were usually one of the exceptions, many people were wary about going inside. But they still needed the essentials, which is why online ordering for groceries store became the norm. In fact, 80% of Americans tried online grocery shopping during the pandemic.
The adoption of online grocery shopping – whether it entails curbside pickup or delivery – has led many to believe that it’s a COVID trend that will stick around. After all, the pandemic may be on its way out, but the convenience of online grocery shopping isn’t going anywhere.
- “Panic Buying” Came to eCommerce: It should come as no surprise that people didn’t just shop online during the pandemic. They rushed to shop online. And when they found the items they needed, they bought a lot of them.
Fear-induced buying that started in person quickly spread to online stores, as well. This “panic buying” was “a type of herd behavior whereby consumers buy an uncommonly huge amount of products because of a perception of scarcity.”
One of the most dramatic illustrations of how desperate people were to buy products online is probably conversion rates, which jumped almost 9% in February 2020, mimicking the kind of urgency eCommerce companies usually do not see until Cyber Monday. So, it wasn’t just that shoppers conducted more searches amid the pandemic. They actually bought more often, as well.