People have been steadily adapting to the effects that CoViD-19 is having on their lives. The most obvious change is that most people are staying inside almost constantly so they need to do their shopping online. 43% of e-commerce merchants have reported an increase in sales since the crisis began. In an analysis of over 32,000 brands, not only are their sales elevated, but April’s average daily sales were up 39% compared to sales in March.

In the United States alone, e-commerce revenue has jumped 37% since the pandemic began and online orders are up 54% compared to their average.

Why E-commerce?

Ecommerce shopping

E-commerce has seen a huge surge in activity over the last several weeks. People can’t safely go to stores to do their shopping, so they turn to online stores to get anything they might need. While online shopping has not seen an uptick in sales overall, certain industries have seen insane spikes in demand recently.

What are people buying?

There are several consumer buying factors that research has seen trending during the quarantine:

  • Proactive health-minded buying (purchasing preventative health and wellness products)
  • Reactive health management (purchasing protective gear like masks and hand sanitizers)
  • Pantry preparation (stockpiling groceries and household essentials)
  • Quarantine prep (experiencing shortages in stores, making fewer store visits)
  • Restricted living (making much fewer shopping trips)

The more nervous people get about the virus, the more panic buying the market has seen. This is most clearly seen in the soaring demand for medical supplies and cleaning supplies. In the e-commerce market, sales for medical supplies has soared 500% and cleaning supplies sales have climbed 200% above average. Online sellers of household goods and groceries report that sales in these categories have nearly quadrupled.

Ecommerce consumer sales graph

Why are people buying?

The phenomenon of e-commerce growth and its relation to panic buying during this pandemic can be attributed to “retail therapy”. According to psychology, retail therapy appeals to people’s 3 fundamental psychological needs.

  1. Autonomy; the need to feel that you are in control of your own actions
  2. Relatedness; the need to feel that we are doing something which is beneficial to our families
  3. Competence; the need to feel like we are being “smart shoppers” and making the correct choices

Evaluate your business operations and pivot so that your business can take advantage of the e-commerce high!

Seiler Tucker