Near the beginning of last year, the novel COVID-19 outbreak quickly took over the world, forcing most of us to practice social distancing measures, and spend all our time isolating at home. And although the overall situation surrounding the pandemic has significantly improved, many countries around the world are enforcing new protective measures once again. That unprecedented situation we were faced with last year, combined with these new rules and regulations, has not only affected the way we work and lead our daily lifestyles, but has also changed the manner in which we shop and transformed our money-spending habits in quite unique and surprising ways.
Health and safety have become new priorities
Ever since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, consumers have become more health-conscious than before, often prioritizing their health and safety by minimizing trips to physical stores, and protecting themselves with face masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers whenever they go shopping. However, this new priority can clearly be seen in the product categories consumers are buying as well.
From protective items and disinfectants to soaps, household cleaners and sanitizers, and even supplements and multivitamins, products relating to cleanliness, hygiene, and overall health have seen a dramatic increase over the course of the pandemic, and have evidently become the number one spending category for modern shoppers.
Contactless payment options are preferred
Considering the fact that information about COVID-19 has been quite scarce at the beginning of the pandemic, most consumers were wary about handling cash and interpersonal exchanges, due to the fear of contracting the virus. This led shoppers to choose special services like self-checkout, and opt for touch-free payment options whenever possible.
Apparently, this turned into a habit for the majority of consumers, as contactless payments are still the preferred transaction option in physical stores. Whether it’s contactless credit and debit cards, or even mobile applications such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, touch-free payment methods are still considered to be the safest and most reliable choice during the coronavirus pandemic.
Online shopping is more popular than ever
As business closures and self-isolation were quite prevalent last year, with many countries still experiencing some form of lockdown, online shopping has become the only viable choice for most consumers. Apart from essential items such as food and hygiene products, other categories like clothing and electronics have also been purchased online more than ever before.
This reliance on e-commerce has translated into this year as well, with many buyers still relying on platforms such as Shoppster and other similar websites to take care of their shopping needs. Not only providing a wide array of different product categories and attractive discounts, such platforms also offer convenient home deliveries and a pleasant shopping experience, making them the safest and most logical option during the pandemic.
Support for local businesses has increased
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, a number of governments around the globe have asked their citizens to start shopping locally and provide support to their neighborhoods, in an effort to help preserve smaller businesses and stimulate the local economy. It seems like consumers have happily listened to this plea, as local spending has significantly increased last year, whether it was due to the care for the community or the convenience of neighborhood shopping.
In turn, this has allowed many small, local businesses and brands to survive the economic hardships of the pandemic, and has even improved local economies in certain instances, which is why many consumers have an intention to continue shopping locally even after the pandemic has subsided.
Buyers are trying new products and brands
Whether it was prompted by local support or stock availability, which was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, consumers are more eager than ever to try new products, brands, and e-commerce platforms. Apart from satisfying immediate shopping needs, this also prompted new consumer behaviors, mostly in the form of curiosity and an openness to new shopping experiences.
On the other hand, the work-from-home and self-isolation orders have encouraged many to develop new interests and take up new hobbies in order to fulfill their time. This led consumers to discover new products and brands related to these new activities, which they will likely continue to buy in the future.
While disrupting our regular daily routines, the COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted our spending habits in quite unpredictable ways. From discovering new businesses and platforms to choosing contactless payment options, these purchasing habits have evidently become the new normal, and will only continue to rise in popularity in the future.