It was on March 11, 2020, that the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic. Since then, the world has been turned upside down. There have been (and still are) lockdowns and curfews in several European countries. Job situations have changed, social distancing is a must, and on top of it all, the constant worry that oneself or someone close to oneself will be infected.
If there is something we all can agree on, it is that Covid-19 has had a huge effect on our consumer behaviour. No previous occurrence has caused e-commerce growth as strongly as the Corona crisis. It has truly been an interesting and educational year for e-commerce and online retailers.
From panic shopping to online shopping.
At the beginning of the pandemic, panic shopping was a fact. People bunkered down with canned food, pasta, rice, toilet paper, hand sanitiser and face masks. It was difficult for companies to meet the demand for the products. Shelves were empty and deliveries were not made as they should.
Over time, there were curfews, quarantines, restrictions, and total lockdowns.
Online shopping became the safer option for shopping, and in some cases, the only option. E-commerce grew like never before.
How has the pandemic affected e-commerce in Europe?
Here are 10 ways:
1. Average order value has increased
As a natural consequence of social distancing and order to stay at home, sales in brick and mortar stores have decreased dramatically. Sales have moved online and the online average order value has increased by 10-30% during 2020.
2. Fashion e-commerce is still growing
Fashion e-commerce is still growing. The pandemic and the new everyday life that comes with it have developed a new customer behaviour: comfort over style. People are changing their wardrobes. From everyday clothes such as jeans and shirts and party clothes such as dresses, high-heeled shoes and suits, to the new life in sweatpants, loungewear and pyjamas. In fact, the hoodie was named the fashion item of the year 2020.
There is also a clear increase in sportswear and workout clothes. Many gyms are closed so it has become more important than ever to maintain an active lifestyle and exercise/spend more time in nature.
3. More shoppers
62% of consumers shop online more now than before the pandemic. The online shopping trend isn’t going away in the near future, on the contrary, it is here to stay.
4. User-generated content- more important than ever
2020 was the year when many people learned how to shop online. Some for the first time, ever, and some for the first time for specific products or services.
People need to feel confident in buying products they can't see, touch or smell, before making a purchase.
Having that said, user-generated content, such as customers reviews, ratings and photos, is crucial to getting new customers on your e-commerce store.
5. Grocery shopping went online
An e-commerce market that has grown a lot and increased online sales during the years is food and beverage. Lockdowns and urging to stay indoors have more or less forced people to find new ways to perform their everyday chores.
The highest increase has been in the countries that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.
Percentage of shoppers who bought groceries online during the pandemic, who did not do so previously:
Spain: 30%, France: 22%, UK and Italy: 20%.
Sweden and Denmark: 14%, Finland: 11%, Poland, Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany: 10%, Norway: 9%.
68% of the new online grocery shoppers say they will continue to shop groceries online in the future.
6. Higher demands for various delivery options
Being able to choose the place for delivery has risen dramatically during the year. To get customers to order products from your e-commerce store, you need to be able to meet their delivery options expectations.
Home delivery is the preferred delivery option, followed closely by the possibility of being able to collect the product personally from a parcel machine.
Click and collect is also an option that many people prefer. It means that the customer can order products online and then be able to pick them up in the physical store. A perfect alternative for you who have both an e-commerce store and a physical store.
7. Lower demands on delivery time
We agree, it sounds strange considering the previous text. But it is true. According to Postnord, consumers have accepted longer delivery times during the pandemic, compared to previous years. Demands are lower, most likely because many consumers understand the struggle with late, or even missed, deliveries from the manufacturers in connection to the pandemic.
8. Different e-commerce categories are growing
As we mentioned before, online sales of groceries have increased. There are some different e-commerce categories that have grown a lot during the past year. People spend more time at home now, compared to before the pandemic. With that said, there are many who want to have it nice at home and that’s one reason why the sales of furniture, home decoration and DIY have increased so much during the past year.
9. Travel and events have suffered
Although we can see a clear increased sales in many industries, there are also some industries that have had a drastic decrease in sales. For example, travel, events, and online ticket sales experienced a fall between 40% and 70% during 2020.
10. Mobile shopping is increasing
More and more people are choosing to shop online using mobile phones in Europe. In fact, the European average for 2020 was 75%, which is an increase of as much as 10% compared to 2019.
E-commerce 2020 in figures
- 293 million consumers in Europe shop online
- 269 billion EUR, the total that European consumers estimate that they spent online during the past year