Has COVID-19 changed consumers shopping habits?

The past several years have witnessed the growth of the eCommerce market globally. Above that, the COVID-19 pandemic has played a very huge role in multiplying the growth to a great extent. The growth rate of online revenue year-over-year has been 70% in the U.S and this has suddenly shot up to 144% during the COVID-19 pandemic. Protocols like social distancing and staying home as much as possible has made visiting physical stores limited and in turn, made consumers turn online as the means to shop for their needs.

Even as the country has started to open up, the habit of shopping online will stay. Physical stores have to adjust and make changes necessary to accept the e-way of shopping. Below are the shopping norms that have been changed during the pandemic and their effects on us.

1: Shopping means in-store

The COVID-19 pandemic ensured that every consumer including those who did not like the idea of shopping online had to accept that shopping from home is the new normal. Consumers have finally understood the value and importance of shopping online. Not to forget the online stores like Amazon, Walmart and others have also played an important part in building trust and doing their best to serve the consumers.

So now what’s next for multichannel brands? The multichannel brands will have to move towards eCommerce and have to shift more resources towards the digital way of shopping. They will need to prioritize consumer engagement and creating a customized eCommerce strategy for the best online shopping experience for customers.

2: Branded products are always the best

During a situation like a pandemic, everything changes. This is also true for shopping habits and beliefs. Below you will see how the wants and demands of online shoppers have changed due to COVID-19. What consumers wanted then and what they want now:

Before COVID-19 pandemic:

  • 49% of shoppers priority was good quality.
  • 45% of shoppers priority was a reasonable price.
  • 28% of shoppers priority was a reputed brand.


  • 50% of shoppers priority is the availability of the product.
  • 37% shoppers priority was a reasonable price.
  • 32% of shoppers priority was good quality.

Now that states are beginning to reopen, multichannel brands must be aware of the fact that they could very well lose business to a competitor if theirs isn’t in stock. To win in a post-pandemic world, it’s critical to optimize inventory management, highlight product benefits, and build a convenient digital shopping experience. Even if you’re competing against a brand-name juggernaut, you might be able to win on availability alone.

As things are getting back to normal, brands need to be aware that inventory management is going to play a very important role for them to sustain. As mentioned above price and quality no longer matter as long as the product is available.

3: Not stocking up products

Post pandemic, shoppers have started to stock up products as a precautionary measure .. “just in case”. The shortage of just about everything during COVID-19 has brought about this change in human behaviour. When COVID-19 struck us, there was a sudden rise in demand for household necessities, grocery items and above all alcohol. Items like canned food, sanitisers and tissues, all are now stocking it more and more.

Good brands that never expected such a rise in demand found themselves lost with no supply, empty warehouses causing products to be labelled as out-of-stock. Some brands did not experience the surge in demand but as we all know that COVID is far from over and there is a high possibility of a repeat in product demand. All brands should start on getting their supply chain rolling, as stocking up is now the trend preparing for the “what if” that still lingers in everyone’s mind.

COVID-19 has brought about a drastic change in the way one shops. This change happened at the time of the pandemic chaos. It is said that changes that happen during such global crises is irreversible and well adopted by all.