Covid 19 has brought in many changes and one of the biggest changes visible is with the shift in shopping. The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world and triggered changes in online shopping behaviours and these are likely to last for a long period, according to a new survey “COVID 19 and commerce”.
The survey by UNCTAD and Netcomum Suisse eCommerce Association in collaboration with Brazilian Network Information Center and Inveen covered about 1,700 consumers in nine emerging and developed economies. The survey was held in Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, South Africa, Switzerland and Turkey.
In the survey they looked into how the pandemic changed the way consumers use e-commerce. The survey found that more than half of the respondents shopped online more frequently and relied more on the internet for health related information, news and entertainment. UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said that the pandemic had accelerated the shift towards a more digital world. The changes will have lasting effects as the world economy begins to recover, Kituyi added.
Online purchases rise: Consumer spending falls
The survey shows that online purchases have increased by six to ten percentage points across most product categories. Pharmaceuticals, ICT/electronics, education, furniture, gardening, household products, cosmetics and personal care categories topped the online buyer’s list.
Alexandre Barbosa of the Brazilian Network Information Center (NIC b) noted that online consumption habits in Brazil changed significantly with the pandemic. A greater proportion of internet users also bought essential products, such as food and beverages, cosmetics and medicines, Barbosa added.
The online shopping tendency differed between countries at the time of Covid 19. China and Turkey saw the highest trends and it was seen weakest in Switzerland and Germany. Women and people with tertiary education increased their online purchases than others. People in the 25 to 44 age group were more into online shopping, compared to younger ones. In the case of Brazil, the increase was highest among the most vulnerable population and women. Small merchants in China also showed more interest to sell their products online and those in South Africa were least prepared.
Digital giants grow stronger
WhatsApp, facebook messenger and Instagram were the most used communication platforms. Zoom and Microsoft also benefitted from increase in the use of video calling applications in workplaces.
Changes are to stay
The survey showed that online activities are likely to outlast the COVID-19 pandemic. Most respondents, especially those in China and Turkey, reported to continue with online shopping.