Skip to content

COVID-19 is Changing the Way we Shop

 By Userlytics
 May 07, 2020
 39925 views

COVID-19 is Changing the Way we Shop

COVID-19 is changing the way we shop

INTRODUCTION

Given the current world health and associated economic crisis, Userlytics ran a qualitative moderated (“Live Conversations“) user experience study with participants in the US to determine how respondents’ online shopping behavior has changed as a result of the pandemic. The following is a brief synopsis of the results.

COVID-19 is changing the way we shop

ACCELERATING PRE-EXISTING TRENDS

The increased role of digital platforms in people’s lives, all over the world, has turned out to be helpful during these trying times of the pandemic. It has been far easier for many to work from home, and shop online, than would have been the case only 10 years ago.

The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated pre existing trends, and many purchases that used to be done in-person are now done online to minimize contact. But not only has the rate of ecommerce to in-store purchasing dramatically increased, but also the pattern of shopping has shifted. For example, respondents aren’t buying as much clothing because they have nowhere to go and no one, or few, to impress with new clothing purchases.

Video Clip – Shopping for Clothes

CHANGED PURCHASING BEHAVIOUR

People are spending a higher percentage of their budgets on in-home entertainment, such as video games and puzzles, in order to distract themselves as well as restless children, or buying cooking utensils as they spend more time in the kitchen without access to restaurants.

People are choosing to buy essential items through the internet that they used to buy physically at the store. Although it is too soon to gauge whether this will be a permanent shift in behaviour, some concerns about e-commerce remain.

Video Clip – In-Home Entertainment

SLOWER DELIVERY TIMES

For example, it can be more expensive to order certain products online, and, at least at present, it’s not always a fast solution since nearly every delivery company is currently overloaded with shipments.

There’s a gnawing worry about what might happen in terms of contamination based on who comes into contact with the delivery, although this concern is not one that should remain after the pandemic is over.

Video Clip – Delivery Delays

LESS BRAND LOYALTY

We also found that people have started to become more flexible about what to buy and where. Brand loyalty has, at least for the moment, become less important and people are starting to buy different products from different brands as the brands they’re accustomed to become unavailable.

When the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020 broke out, many people had to switch to brands they had never bought before or had never heard of.

Other less known and cheaper brands are becoming more accepted and people have started making decisions that are good for the environment, such as buying microfiber towels instead of paper towels.

Video Clip – Brand Loyalty

CHANGED ATTITUDES

People have become more aware of personal hygiene and personal space through constant reminders of Coronavirus in every shop front or on every website’s homepage, which is viewed as positive given the seriousness of the situation. These messages lower users’ expectations while increasing the respect they have for the brands that are addressing concerns upfront.

Video Clip – Messages

SOURCES OF INFORMATION

One of the most trustworthy and up-to-date sources of information, according to the users in our study, is the CDC.gov website. Respondents also collect information through other sources, such as TV news (CNN, local news), online (LA Times, CNN), social media (Reddit, Facebook, YouTube) and talking to friends and family.

The scientific lingo is sometimes hard to digest, which is another point in CDC’s favor, as the information on the CDC site is well presented in a simple and approachable way, according to the users in our study. Users mentioned they wish CDC would provide links to help them purchase items to protect themselves, such as face masks or hand sanitizer.

Video Clip – CDC Trust

CONCLUSION

Online shopping habits are accelerating in terms of remote shopping. In addition to an overall increase in the percentage of purchases online, new pandemic specific products have entered the shopping mix (unknown brands, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, products and services to keep entertained), although there are concerns, in terms of online shopping, as to what could have come into contact with their items (especially groceries) on their way to participants’ homes.

One interesting impact is the opportunity for unknown brands to “break into” the shopping habits of consumers, as the novel purchasing activities are opening up new opportunities to explore different brands.

Users are very keen to stay informed on the situation, for which they use websites that have earned a reputation for factual science based accuracy, such as the CDC. The key question, which we shall be exploring in follow up studies, is to what extent new habits will persist after the pandemic is over, and whether a more normal delivery time, as well as decreased concerns over “delivery contagion” will imply a much higher percentage of online shopping for previously “low digitalization” products, such as groceries.

Didn’t find what you were searching for?

Related posts

They say finding love is one of the hardest things to do as a human being. We’ve been fed this narrative our entire lives, with movies, books, and songs all focusing on how impossible it is to find “the one.” Even in
Artificial intelligence, or AI, has recently made headlines due to a host of powerful and engaging tools that have gone viral across social media. Take ChatGPT, the chatbot whose revolutionary technology allows it to do everything from answering complex queries to generating song
If you're in the market for a remote user testing solution, you've probably come across a few of the following names, such as UserTesting, UserZoom, Playbook UX, UserBrain, UserFeel, LookBack, TryMata, Optimal Workshop, and DScout. All of these platforms have their advantages
Things to be Thankful for: Advantages of Professional Peer Support in UX Research Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all the things we are thankful for. As user researchers, we are thankful for the ability to connect with our peers and
2022 has been a busy and exciting time at Userlytics. We’ve launched several new features and capabilities, including sentiment analysis, accessibility testing, the ULX score, and VR testing. These newly implemented tools were designed to enhance your experience and provide you with
As staples of nearly all research conducted today, many people think they know about the differences between qualitative (qual) and quantitative (quant) testing. However, in the context of user research, these two methodologies are often used interchangeably. So how does one know
Understanding what democratizing user research means is not as simple as searching for the definition online, or asking a colleague for a quick summary. In a general sense, the universal definition is “providing all stakeholders with access to user insight and UX
It's no secret that a good website or app user experience is crucial for boosting sales. In an offline location such as a store or restaurant, being physically present may keep a prospect even if the experience is subpar. But in an
For many researchers working in UX, quantitative data analysis can cause a lot of anxiety. UX researchers provide interpretations that can impact businesses with said data, which can be an overwhelming amount of pressure. There are many reasons UX researchers are often
As a UX researcher or designer, it's important to have a clear understanding of your target customer before beginning a remote UX study. This helps you make informed decisions about what to test, how to test it, and who to target your
If you’re a UX researcher, you probably already know how important it is to carefully consider every step of a research plan: You need to make sure you understand the problem space, choose the most suitable research methods, identify and recruit the
In remote user experience and usability testing, there are a variety of factors that contribute to valuable, authentic user data that can be used to improve your brand’s user and customer experience. Among those factors are the quality and authenticity of the
Are you thinking about doing some user testing on your website, app or prototype? Are you currently weighing up the different options available to you? Should you use a free video-conferencing tool or a paid user testing platform? What are the differences
If you visited a complex website and found everything you were looking for with ease, it was unlikely a coincidence. A well-designed website structure is often the result of careful user research and testing, following information architecture principles and best practices. So
While remote user experience testing significantly enhances researchers' ability to reach test participants, these participants’ technical skills and access to technology can often vary greatly. Therefore, it is important to design and administer remote tests that facilitate participants' varying technical skills and
Userlytics prides itself in being a truly global platform. With over one million panel testers in over 150 countries, we are happy to say that we are able to find and test your target customers, wherever they may be. With the inception
In today’s highly digital world, cybersecurity is of the utmost importance when running day to day business operations. As usability testing grows in popularity, so does the need to choose a UX platform that values your company's privacy and security. But how
Userlytics makes user experience testing easy, efficient and fun with its state-of-the-art no-download web recorder. This revolutionary user experience testing recorder allows participants to jump right into usability tests directly with a simple click of a button; this means you can more
Moderated testing is a great opportunity to get thorough and instant feedback from users all around the world. This type of testing involves a live, online interview where you are face-to-face with your users via webcam, asking them questions, guiding them through
Researching the ins and outs of your business is integral to setting your company up for success. Increasingly, fine-tuning and improving your customers’ brand experience has become one of the top priorities for businesses. With customer expectations being at an all-time high,
Are you a UX researcher who mainly conducts in-person studies and you’re looking for some online alternatives to get you through this unusual period of lockdown and social distancing? Or perhaps you’re someone who is starting their path down UX enlightenment, looking
Imagine a scenario where a user is shopping online and stumbles across a product she likes, but the product’s description doesn’t tell her everything she needs to know before making a purchase (strike 1). To find out more, the user decides to
The Best and Worst UX in the Travel Industry Finding the best flight deals online can be an exhilarating experience. Almost every booking site today promises the lowest fares available and, in some cases, even a price match guarantee. With such a
Last November 18th our CEO was interviewed by Ditsa Keren, of Website Planet; Here are some excerpts from the interview: “If we take a step back and think about how software has evolved over the past 15 years, the cost and time
Designers are prone to falling into the trap of cluttering their interfaces. Limitations of space often push them to the wall, and they find themselves trying to fit everything they can into a tiny usable space. The unique problem that the modern
How Can Bad UX Influence Your Conversion Funnel? Source: Shengjun Shi Regardless of whether you sell a product, offer a service or run a blog, any visitor comes to your site with simple goals like consuming or gathering more information. The user experience

Let’s work together on your next UX study.

Create positive user experiences and keep customers loyal to your product and brand.

Analytics tells you what,
Userlytics tells you WHY.