Part II: A Breakdown of Consumer Shopping Behaviour in the Age of COVID-19

June 11, 2020

As lockdown begins to lessen — it’s clear consumer shopping behaviour has changed dramatically.

Over the past three months, many of us have embraced a new way of life, from home DIY and gardening, to attempting the Couch to 5k, or learning that hairdressing is a skill we certainly don’t possess! This shift in behaviour has led to a huge number of consumers turning to online and digital channels to source products and advice to suit their new lifestyles.

With more of us online than ever before, now’s the time for brands and retailers to invest in their online marketing and selling capabilities. With that in mind, we launched a new consumer study to discover how shoppers are adapting to this new “digital-first” world of commerce — which products they are investing in, the channels they are browsing and how they anticipate their behaviour to change in the future.

Welcome to Part II of this series where we will explore the most popular products in lockdown and how consumer behaviour will change post-lockdown. [Don’t forget to check out Part I]

Making the Purchase: What Products Proved Popular?

We asked consumers what they have bought in the last two months since the start of March.

Really interesting differences between age and gender here.

  • Men are almost twice as likely to buy electrical items than women, 27% vs 14% average
  • For fashion, unsurprisingly it’s the younger generations driving these purchases, 39% vs 22% average
  • Nearly one quarter of 18-25 year olds have bought luxury beauty items like home manicure or spa items
  • For home office furniture, 26-35 year olds bought nearly double the average across all ages
[Check out our blog series on GMV Trends for more data insights and information on this]

At the start of lockdown we saw a focus on comfort items such as loungewear, slippers as well as home gym equipment and athleisure.

We asked consumers where they anticipated their next purchases to be and the results were varied – younger age groups are looking at fashion and beauty, as well as home decorative items such as candles. But older age groups are prioritising garden accessories.

Looking Ahead: How will consumer attitudes change?

As we reported in the press recently, despite many UK shops now expected to reopen on 15 June, our research shows the COVID-19 crisis is driving a new wave of online consumers as two in five (42%) people say they will shop online more frequently after lockdown ends.

Furthermore, 19% of shoppers said they now have more confidence with shopping online. This might sound like a low figure, but let’s bear in mind that the UK is one of the most advanced e-commerce markets in the world.

Since lockdown began, consumers have been more experimental than ever before, 25% said they have purchased items from a retailer they haven’t shopped with before and 30% said they have purchased goods online they have not previously bought.

Further Reading

We hope you found these statistics and data insights helpful and interesting. We have lots more to share with you, don’t forget to checkout more in the series.

For a visual summary of the key findings, check out this infographic: 5 Consumer Shopping Trends in the Age of COVID-19

If you’d like to hear best practices and advice from our experts on how to adapt your advertising and selling strategy, listen to this on-demand webinar: Consumer Shopping Trends in the Age of COVID-19 — And how brands should be reacting

For the latest industry news on what these trends mean, head over to our news centre.

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About the survey
We surveyed 1,033 consumers alongside our partner Dynata, from across the UK, equal sampling across age to understand their shopping preferences.