Starting right from the end of 2019, COVID-19 has been a tremendous shock for people all around the globe. The spread of the pandemic, the rapid economic move in the direction of tenuous positions, and the world-wide quarantines have caused many changes to what has been habitual. With so many countries and regions still being on lockdown, we’ve decided to reflect the question of how did the e-commerce sphere adapt to the circumstances. On this page, we gladly share our findings.

What’s Changed in Online Sales?

At times like now, the reality to which we were used to has made a real turn, leaving thousands of people spreading their arms and thinking about what’ll happen next. Due to social distancing and strict self-isolation rules, physical stores and many businesses are closing down, people are working from home offices remotely and spending very limited time outside their homes. Without any doubt, all of this has inevitably changed the way people shop.

According to the results of a recent Forbes survey:

“Twenty-four percent of men versus 18 percent of women reported increasing their frequency of online shopping.”

Evidently, people started to shop online more often than they’ve done before. Viewing the statistics data of the Office for National Statistics in the United Kingdom, there has been a more than 10% leap in the percentage of retail sales ratio within the time period of October 2019 and April 2020.

Another recent trend that was seen in the past couple of months was that people tend to stock up. This means that the average orders are much larger. But are all online businesses ready for that? Sadly, no.

In the fight to survive, numerous retailers who haven’t depended so greatly on online sales have been facing the challenge of quickly making the shift to online. They’re very busy with re-focusing their style of work to sell on the internet and have a strong presence online. Furthermore, many retailers have come across the need of building their online store from the ground up in the shortest time frames, as well as investing in the optimization of their stores in order to cope with the new volumes of online sales.

To give an example, mentioning one of the most popular e-commerce platforms, Magento, as of recent, performance optimization services have experienced growth in demand. Store owners wish to have better performing stores, reduce cart abandonment, and make more off their online stores, thus, there’s no better way out than to enhance what you have rather than to spend extra on ads.

Do People Buy More Than They Used to?

No, unfortunately, they don’t, and shopping habits change. People tend to buy less, cut back on many things that they used to purchase regularly. Giving preference to saving up, they’re uncertain about both the economic situation ahead and their future. Why else is this happening? People get laid off, causing an overall decrease in salaries, paying capacities, and, consequently, in revenues.

As a result, the spending rates have drastically gone down. That said, based on the statistics by Trader Economics:

“Consumer Spending in the United States decreased to 13180.84 USD Billion in the first quarter of 2020 from 13413.81 USD Billion in the fourth quarter of 2019.”

This is over 230 billion dollars in the USA alone! The global digits are much bigger.

What People Do & Don’t Buy

Some product categories are experiencing downfalls due to irrelevance. Since more people spend time at home, household goods for cleaning and disinfection are on the rise. Whereas, items like rubber gloves, hand sanitizers, medical supplies, and protective face masks are sky-rocketing in demand and sales.

According to Flourish, electronics goods and items for outdoor recreation have declined. Such product categories as travel items and jewelry have been experiencing not only reductions in sales but negative effects. For instance, this could in much be explained by the fact that many countries around the globe still have closed borders and place fierce restrictions regarding entry. Similarly, even avid travelers are cautious about vacations and trips and decide to put off their plans for a while.

Shipping & Product Delivery

Due to the increase in e-commerce sales, a boost in product delivery has become inevitable too.

So, shipping and delivery have changed their game as well. For instance, having lost the chance to have visitors, many cafes, restaurants, diners, and the food sector, in general, have switched to the business model that’s based on delivery.

Contactless deliveries of products have become a strong point for many businesses as concerned customers are still quite afraid of catching the disease.

Wrapping up, the situation is ever-changing, and everyone hopes for a turn towards the best. Speaking about the world of e-commerce, even before the pandemic, big bids were put on the growth of online sales. Therefore, if you wish to enhance your website, don’t hesitate to turn to the pros for help. As such, if your online store is built on Magento, professional Magento performance optimization services will surely do you good. The future has saved a significant portion of sales for online ones, thus, it’s vital for retail businesses to be able to move with the times.

Alex Husar, CTO at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in Magento and Salesforce. He graduated from the Czech Technical University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering. Alex’s expertise includes both full-stack dev skills and a strong ability to provide project-critical guidance to the whole team.

E-commerce stock photo by My Life Graphic/Shutterstock