More than any single factor, the pandemic has impacted virtually all industries, but it has most impacted how consumers shop. Prior to 2020, consumers may have shopped online for many different products and services, but since mid-2020 buying habits have changed significantly. Consumers now feel more comfortable buying what were once in-person purchases such as cars, food, and medical or health care needs.
A recent survey by McKinsey & Co. highlighted that since the pandemic began, three out of four people have tried new shopping and delivery methods. More than half of the consumers surveyed intend to continue to use curbside pickup or delivery services after the pandemic ends. Roughly 70% of those consumers intend to keep buying online. Among the changes are increases in online streaming, grocery delivery, restaurant curbside pickup and delivery, and store curbside pickup. Consumers are going online not just for shopping; they now go online for medical appointments, fitness classes, tutoring, and more.
While these changes are good for digital commerce providers, they are not so good for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. This year will likely see a record of store closings, bankruptcies, and liquidations. And, retailers have had to shift how they deliver services, including more online experiences such as digital events, contactless payment methods, virtual online services, and curbside pickup.
Overall, ecommerce in the U.S. rose to 16.1% from 10.8% a year ago. New shopping habits also extend to a decline in cash and an increase in credit and debit card use.
To quote Bob Dylan, “the times they are a changing.”
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- As class begins, poll students about their shopping.
- What are the last three websites they visited? Did they buy anything? Why or why not?
- How have their shopping habits changed this year?
- Do they have new online shopping habits?
- Will they keep these new habits once the pandemic is contained?
- Show video about how pandemic has changed shopping habits: https://www.wsj.com/video/the-future-of-retail-how-will-the-pandemic-change-how-we-shop/526ADB88-F6D1-4B77-AA97-BAA323496D4D.html
Source: Wall Street Journal