COVID-19 Drives Consumers to Online Shopping, Delivery

As the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies and social distancing becomes the new normal, consumers are changing their shopping habits.

New research from Nielsen, outlined in the article COVID-19: The Unexpected Catalyst for Tech Adoption, explores consumer motivation to turn to technology-enabled solutions to assist in tasks like shopping. Nielsen points to “catalyst moments” that may change technology adoption horizons and drive changes in shopping habits. In terms of consumers making a shift to online shopping, Nielsen explained that while online shopping has been a growing trend in general, some grocery categories, including packaged and fresh goods, have been slower to gain traction in some markets. COVID-19 is changing that–Nielsen pointed to European markets that have seen notable spikes in e-commerce sales in recent weeks.

Data from SEMrush, a data trends provider, also points to this shift. The company reports that, in the past two week, searches for food/grocery delivery services have surged. The most-searched are:

      1. Daily Harvest: 68.52% increase
      2. Uber Eats: 53.97% increase
      3. Green Chef: 50.00% increase
      4. Hellofresh: 43.75% increase
      5. Caviar (food delivery): 39.53% increase
      6. Grubhub: 37.14% increase
      7. Postmates: 32.86% increase
      8. Doordash: 30.72% increase
      9. Instacart: 28.21% increase
      10. Amazonfresh:20.27% increase

Key for bricks-and-mortor stores that are currently shifting more sales to online: “Although retailers themselves are likely to be faced with significant supply chain challenges in some markets,” Nielsen advised, “it will be critical for retailers to make the migration from offline to online as seamless as possible by communicating potential stock outages, advising of delayed delivery timelines and providing additional online navigation tools and support to first-time users on their platforms.”

Despite these trends, consumers are not abandoning stores, Nielsen said, pointing to Nielsen survey data shows that globally, 59% of consumers say they agree or strongly agree with the statement: ‘I really enjoy doing the grocery household shopping.’

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That said, during the COVID-19 crisis when shopping in store may not be possible, consumers may enjoy artificial and virtual reality (A/VR) technology to bring the in-store experience into their homes, Nielsen noted. “Nielsen data shows that more than half (51%) of global consumers are willing to try A/VR to assess products and services. With consumers not able to physically visit stores, they will be looking for alternative entertainment and shopping experiences. Companies that can leverage A/VR may hold the answer to immersive augmented reality experiences that will transform engagement and shopping.”

Nielsen also offered insights on preparing for a tech-enabled future. Read the full article from Nielsen here