How COVID is Fueling Sales in the Retail Market

How COVID is Fueling Sales in the Retail Market


COVID has presented the world of e-commerce with a new type of consumer – the crisis consumer.

Welcome to the new age of the online ‘crisis consumer’. Since the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus, online retailers have experienced an impressive increase in both traffic and sales on their e-commerce platforms. But, what has emerged is a new online consumer that is demanding faster service, more options, and better deals.

As many essential items, like disinfectant wipes, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer have been out of stock for months, smaller e-commerce retailers have struggled to meet demand. Even the mega e-commerce giant Amazon experienced major delivery and inventory delays through the first few months of the pandemic. That’s why this new ‘crisis’ consumer is rewarding those brands that can consistently promise high-quality products at the best prices and with lightning-fast shipping options. 

In fact, recent studies have found that the “crisis” consumer is 3x more likely to research a product before buying it online and have had to cut their online spending by up to 50%. 

Here are the top four ways the current COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how consumers buy, especially from online retailers:

  1. Consumers are gravitating to brands that have ample inventory and great deals. 

When surveyed, 36% of people now say that they prefer to buy from brands that could guarantee stock availability, competitive pricing, and reliable shipping. Even now almost nine months into the pandemic, some online retailers are struggling to keep up with demand or return back to pre-pandemic shipping windows. 

As a second wave of the virus threatens to disrupt logistical channels again, consumers are naturally sticking to the brands and retailers they know can deliver, even during a shutdown. 

  1. Consumers want convenience all the time. 

Safety precautions still remain a top priority for many consumers, especially when it comes to visiting brick and mortar retail locations. Companies that have been able to offer curbside pickup or at home delivery, for groceries, hardware store purchases, even dry cleaners are seeing a measurable uptick in sales through the pandemic.  

  1. Consumers are only willing to buy from brands they trust. 

As many “pop up” online stores are becoming the norm, trying to capitalize on the online buying frenzy, consumers are being more selective with who they buy from. And as experts expect data breaches to also increase with more online purchasing, this heightened sense of consumer discretion is likely here to stay. 

Add on top of that the very real fear of price gouging, the online ‘crisis’ shopper will definitely comparison shop more than ever before. That’s likely why when marketing experts asked consumers what was the most important factor they considered before making an online purchase during the pandemic, 40% of consumers ranked brand trust as the single most significant factor.

  1. Consumers are choosing brands with a focus on giving back. 

Ballooning unemployment, topping 30 million new jobless claims at the height of the pandemic, left many consumers limiting even normal everyday purchases. As the financial impact continues to affect families across the country, 78% of consumers are now actively looking for those brands that are helping to alleviate the plight of those in need during this global health crisis. 

With online retailers like e-commerce pet store Chewy and food delivery app, DoorDash pledging to give back millions to help small businesses, consumers don’t have to go far to see what brands are doing during this time of need.As the pandemic continues to evolve, how consumers buy and what factors will influence their purchasing decisions will become a must-watch topic. For e-commerce brands, building trust, promising irresistible deals, and offering fast and convenience shipping options will be essential.


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