COVID-19 restrictions forced many consumers to rethink their routines and for businesses to pivot their operations on the fly, and shoppers rewarded businesses that gave them easy ways to make the changes. And experts think they could last well beyond the pandemic.
Boston Consulting Group reports that U.S. e-commerce sales in March were nearly 60 percent higher than the year before, driven by lockdowns in effect in many cities. Apptopia, a mobile app research company, reported that average daily downloads of grocery-delivery apps had doubled or even tripled in just a month.
The trend wasn’t just driven by more spending from existing customers who were stuck at home. Critically, new consumers also made the leap to digital services: BCG found that a fifth of purchasers surveyed in March were driven to online grocery orders for the first time.
Analysts think those habits are likely to stick around for the long term.
A McKinsey survey found that 75 percent of consumers tried a new way of shopping during the pandemic—a new brand, a new store or a new method such as delivery or curbside pickup. Perhaps the most unexpected result of the survey is that most consumers said they intend to continue those new behaviors after pandemic-era restrictions are lifted. That shift to digital, according to Boston Consulting Group, will affect “virtually every product category, no matter how large the online sales are now.”