Almost all industries have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak to some degree, and the retail space is no exception. The pandemic has completely transformed the way we live, work and shop. As more consumers are staying home, there has been a major shift to e-Commerce. Brands around the globe have shut down their brick-and-mortar stores and ramped up their online activity in an attempt to keep up with the influx of consumers shopping online.
Nobody knows how long this restrictive period of self-isolation will last, but the mere uncertainty of the pandemic’s duration calls into question just how well companies are equipped to manage a long-term disruption to their business. Additionally, businesses have one other concern to manage during this period — counterfeiters leveraging consumer fear and panic buying to sell potentially dangerous fakes to the concerned public.
A New Era For E-Commerce
Within the last five years, the retail industry has seen a major shift from consumers shopping at big-box and traditional retailers to consumers opting to shop on major online marketplaces. However, within the last three months, the coronavirus outbreak has spurred an even more dramatic shift to online shopping. As the crisis continues, the Internet is quickly becoming the only place for shoppers to get what they need, whether basic necessities or gadgets to pass the time.
In a recent study conducted by Red Points following the COVID-19 outbreak, 57.9% of consumers said they have increased online shopping versus shopping in-store. If this issue persists for the next few weeks and beyond, all signs point to these numbers increasing, with consumers gradually increasing their online spending.
It is no surprise that during this time, certain products have seen a spike in demand. For example, there has been a major increase in demand for household cleaning solutions, protective gear and other health-related products. But consumers also are purchasing products that are helping them complete their normal routine, for instance, workout gear that will help them continue their gym routine because there is no definitive timeline on when this outbreak will be resolved. One thing for certain is that companies are scrambling to figure out whether or not they are equipped to handle a long-term disruption to their business.
Sadly, the coronavirus outbreak isn’t the first pandemic to spur an e-Commerce revolution. Following the SARS outbreak in China in 2002 and 2003, JD.com and Tmall gained major traction with Chinese consumers. While it is unfortunate that these outbreaks occur, as seen previously in China, some shifts in consumers’ behavior resulting from COVID-19 will likely persist beyond the crisis.
Read the full article in Retail TouchPoints.