At the beginning of this year, we were faced with an outbreak of the novel coronavirus which rapidly spread across the globe, and forced most people to stay locked inside their homes. But even though the pandemic situation has gotten better in many places, most countries are either entering another lockdown period or being particularly aware of the health implications they are faced with. Apart from impacting our daily routines, and the way we work and live our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic has also transformed our spending habits, as well as the way we shop in stores, in entirely unpredicted ways.
Casual browsing is no longer an option
Casual browsing through stores, without a specific intent to buy an item, has become a regular pastime, whether to gather knowledge and information about garments and discounts, or simply as a form of social interaction. However, as most shopping centers have closed down this year, and people have become more aware of the dangers of crowded indoor spaces, casual browsing was put on hold for the moment.
Instead, people are now visiting stores only when necessary, mostly when it comes to grocery shops. This subsequently led to consumers spending less overall, generally opting for items they truly need or want, rather than making impulsive purchases while casually browsing through shops.
Online shopping has seen an increase
As visiting shopping malls and physical stores wasn’t an option for most during the height of the pandemic, many people have switched to online shopping this year, making it a more popular choice than ever. From grocery items to clothing pieces, consumers are choosing to buy everything online if possible, even those items they would normally purchase is physical stores, mostly in an effort to avoid human contact.
However, even the products that were mostly purchased online in the past, such as quality adult toys for instance, have seen a rise in online sales this year as well. Evidently, the convenience of shopping and paying online, while having the items delivered at our doorstep, seemed like the most logical solution for consumers during the coronavirus outbreak.
Consumers are more health-conscious
When it comes to the consumers who had the opportunity to shop in physical stores this year, it seems like they largely prioritized cleanliness, hygiene and health while shopping. This wasn’t only evident in the purchases they made, such as hand sanitizers and protective face masks, but also in the way they chose to shop, mostly opting for health-conscious stores that put an emphasis on cleanliness and provided hand sanitizers for their customers, in an effort to preserve their health.
Similarly, consumers are also deciding to use touch-free payment options whenever possible, as the most hygienic payment method available at the moment. They are choosing contactless cards and mobile phone payments over the traditional cash option, in order to avoid person-to-person exchanges as much as possible.
Support for local businesses is rising
In an effort to preserve the economy and save smaller businesses, many governments around the world have urged their citizens to shop locally, and support their neighborhoods during the COVID-19 outbreak. Whether it was motivated by the necessary community support or simply out of sheer convenience, it looks like most consumers listened to their leaders, choosing to spend their money on local brands and businesses more than ever this year.
From local bars and restaurants to smaller brands and businesses, many neighborhood “mom-and-pop” shops have managed to stay afloat thanks to local spending, which is why a large number of consumers also reports they would gladly continue to shop locally, even once the pandemic crisis is finally over.
Holiday shopping is being reinvented
As many countries are stepping into another lockdown, or simply reducing their visits to physical shops, traditional holiday shopping has been impacted as well. For example, Black Friday used to be one of the biggest shopping events of the year, flooding the stores with shoppers eager to take advantage of large discounts. This time, however, brands are deciding to prolong their Black Friday deals to several weeks or even the entire month of November, in order to minimize the number of customers in their stores at a time.
Businesses are also putting an emphasis on online shopping as well, allowing consumers to purchase items at the same discounts they would get in stores, and leading most consumers to take care of their holiday shopping for the year online as well.
While the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted our regular daily lives, it significantly impacted our purchasing habits as well, forcing us to be more conscious of both our health and the spending amounts, and encouraging us to choose contactless alternatives whenever possible.