How COVID-19 Has Impacted Retail Consumer Behaviour

Photo taken from IStock

In 2020, life as we knew it completely changed. It was a year defined by the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences. Businesses were forced to close, work from home became the new norm, and lockdowns were always looming over us.

Now that it’s been over a year since the pandemic turned our lives upside down, we have a lot more information on how this “new normal” has impacted consumer behaviour – and many of these habits are here to stay.

Want to know what to expect from your customers going forward? Keep reading to find out.

Online Shopping Leads the Way

When the first lockdown occurred in March of 2020, consumers radically changed their purchasing and consumption habits virtually overnight. Hand sanitizer, gloves, and toilet paper flew off the shelves during the early days of the pandemic. As the months went on and people started to get bored with their living space, home décor sales started booming. But what consumers buy isn’t the only thing that was impacted by the pandemic – how they buy has also drastically changed.

In 2020, over 80% of consumers across the globe shopped online. According to a Statistics Canada report, as of May 2020, e-commerce sales in Canada hit a record-breaking 3.9 billion, which was a 110.8% increase when compared with May 2019. Between February and May of that same year, retail stores at brick-and-mortar stores fell 17.9%.

Photo taken from IStock

Ecommerce is Here to Stay

Even though shutdowns and social distancing measures probably won’t be a forever thing, the changes to the way consumers shop will. Marketing merger and acquisition activity is expected to pick back up as big brands try to up their e-commerce efforts. With e-commerce expected to make up a whopping 22% of global retail sales by 2023, businesses that don’t make this shift run the risk of getting left behind.

Augmented Reality in the Retail Industry

From artificial intelligence to machine learning to blockchain, technological innovations are more accessible to us than ever before. For retailers, augmented reality (AR) was a game-changer in 2020. This interactive tool enables customers to view products in 3D and shop just like they would if they were in store.

In the competitive digital landscape, augmented reality can help retailers stand out and improve consumer shopping experiences. An augmented reality study conducted in the US revealed that 71% of consumers said they would shop more often from a company that used AR and 61% said they prefer retailers who have AR experiences. Unlike 2D photos, 3D augmented reality experiences can communicate details about the look and feel of a product, which can increase customer satisfaction and make consumers more confident in their purchase decisions.

Whether we like it or not, the future is here and adaptability is key to retail success. At Virtualiz3D, we’re committed to helping retailers bring their brick-and-mortar spaces online via interactive, virtual shopping experiences. Visit our services page to learn more about what we can do for you!

Most Recent