It has been nearly eight weeks since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Covid-19 outbreak a global pandemic. In this time, the retail space as we know it has had to completely evolve. Without a warning, brands had to adapt to a pandemic that no one saw coming. Due to the coronavirus many non-essential physical stores have been forced to close until further notice. Marketing Week’s article talked about how these actions have resulted in consumers changing their shopping habits, which has resulted in more online shopping.
Bazaarvoice has a unique visibility into current online shopping, with a network of over 6,200 brand and retailer sites. They have researched and analyzed different patterns and changes in behavior, from increases and decreases in product page views to orders places and reviews submitted. The review was done globally across more than 20 product categories and compared it to the same time period from 2019, as well as the earlier months in 2020.
During the beginning of the lockdown in March, data showed that customers started to really embrace online shopping and began setting themselves up for what looked to be a long period spent at home. There was a 21% increase in online orders in March 2020 vs March 2019. 41% of respondents from a survey with over 3,000 people said that they were currently shopping online for things they would normally shop for in-store. The data highlights that we are changing our normal shopping habits and look to purchase more items online than we usually would. There has been a 25% increase in page views in March 2020 compared to March 19. This is likely due to the increase in time consumers have to search for new products since they are home always and may be purchasing brands they are not familiar with due to limited availability.
It’s interesting to note that not all categories have seen the same growth. Browsing activity is on par with last year for apparel and accessories but buying behavior is down. This may be due to people wanting to save money if they are currently unemployed or not wanting to purchase items in this category until they know when social distancing measures ease off.
Looking at the data from the month of April 2020, we can see the stats growing even more rapidly than they were for March. You can see that for page views there was a 75% increase and 95% increase in order count, along with review count up. The increase in review and question counts show that brands, now more than ever, need to engage with their customers.