Increased consumer online spending
Consumers have made purchases normally made in store online because of the lockdown. In a representative study made by the bitkom digital association, 52 percent of consumers surveyed indicate that they have used delivery methods that do not require direct contact since the start of the pandemic. One in four consumers have parcels dropped off at a specified, pre-arranged location. Even now, after the lifting of some restrictions, the online shopping trend is continuing for the most part. Inner-city shopping areas have lost their normal appeal due to face mask use and social distancing rules. This has led to fast-moving consumer goods purchases also being made online – a situation supported by the convenience of online shopping and the often lower prices offered.
Future online buying behavior
Consumers are expected to shop – online and offline – even more price sensitively in the future as a result of the expected recession and associated loss of purchasing power. The share of frequent/heavy shoppers, defined by more than five online purchases in the last two weeks, rose from 10 percent before the Covid-19 crisis to 18 percent.
This group continued to make the majority of all online purchases (52 percent) and tends to shift offline purchases made in certain categories (e.g. foodstuffs) entirely online. Sixty-seven percent of consumers who bought foodstuffs online during the crisis plan to continue doing so in the future. Forty percent of consumers are prepared to pay higher prices than normally apply in food retailing. This flies in the face of the forecast recession and the existing foodstuff price sensitivity of consumers in Germany.
Corona trends – what will be important in the future?
In a representative online survey published in June 2020 by the ibi-Research Center, more than half (53 percent) of the retailers (both online and stationary retailers) surveyed believe that the Coronavirus pandemic will bring about a lasting change in customers’ shopping behaviors.
Many customers who have now shopped online for the first time are becoming accustomed to it and will increasingly buy online in future.
Fifty percent of those surveyed retailers without an online presence plan to start selling their products online now or in the near future because of the pandemic – 60 percent of them with their own online presence. Germany’s online shop landscape – and the players active in the online market – will grow accordingly as a consequence of the ongoing situation.
The big winners of the crisis are the online marketplaces, and Amazon in particular. Small and new market players will have to find their own respective niches in order to get a piece of the pie.
Social commerce increasing in relevance
Social media/social commerce has gained relevance in recent months. During the course of the lockdown, many offline retailers became creative and offered their products using social media channels. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have all announced plans to expand their social commerce offerings. This sector will become more important in a number of purchase categories and target groups.
Moreover, issues of automation in logistics, sustainability, voice commerce, use of artificial intelligence (e.g. chatbots, dynamic pricing), and additive manufacturing/3D printing will become more important in the future.
Companies that offer innovative solutions for both off- and online retailers in these areas will be able to play a leading role in the development of the market.