Coronavirus and the consumer: One month later

by Scott Spivack •

When we first examined how shoppers were reacting to COVID-19, the pandemic was still in its early stages. One month in, here’s what we know about the real impact of the coronavirus.

Consumers are buying more online, but spending less overall

In March, 55% of surveyed consumers reported a change in shopping habits in response to COVID-19, and only 16% reported they were buying more online. By the end of April, 79% reported making at least one major change, while 35% have reported making more purchases online – a 19% increase from March.

How have your shopping habits changed since COVID-19?

Source: Bizrate Insights Flash Survey, April 2020.

Economic unease has forced consumers to rethink unnecessary purchases, with 41% of shoppers reporting fewer impulse buys, up 18% from March.

More people are spending on entertainment and home improvement

Shelter-in-place orders have given rise to a marked increase in spending on entertainment products like movies and games, as well as products related to DIY and home improvement. 16% of shoppers reported buying these items, up from 8% and 6% in March.

What types of products have you purchased as a result of COVID-19?

Source: Bizrate Insights Flash Survey, April 2020.

The silver lining: retailers are rising to the challenge

There’s no denying that this has been one of the most difficult times for consumers and retailers alike. However, there’s some good news to report: despite the challenges, retailers have largely meet their customers’ demands. More shoppers (42%) feel like retailers are adjusting to their needs compared to a month ago (37%).

How do you feel about the COVID-19 messages you’ve received from retailers?

Source: Bizrate Insights Flash Survey, April 2020.

Additionally, most consumers have reported being able to find most of the items they needed while shopping (58% compared to 49%), with fewer reporting that many or all of the items they needed were sold out (18% and 4%, respectively).

In the past week, have you been able to purchase everything you need?

Source: Bizrate Insights Flash Survey, April 2020.

Brick-and-mortar retailers are preparing to pivot as shelter-in-place restrictions lift in many states. They face a difficult road to recovery and an industry that is changed forever. But the transition over the past few weeks is sure to lead to increased loyalty over the long term.

Bizrate Insights surveys and reports weekly on customer sentiment surrounding COVID-19 and other important trends – check back next week for further insights.

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