Shopping Trends and COVID-19: What Does the Future Hold?
Shopping Trends and COVID-19: What Does the Future Hold?

Shopping Trends and COVID-19: What Does the Future Hold?

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The beginning of 2020 brought unprecedented changes to nearly all aspects of regular life in America and throughout the globe. Lockdowns resulted in remote work, mobile testing facilities, mask mandates, and more.

To survive these mandates, stores had to adapt.

 Customers quickly embraced and praised curbside pickup and delivery options, opting for online rather than in-person shopping. Seemingly overnight, shopping trends changed. According to Forbes, “This isn’t just an e-commerce acceleration — it’s a massive shift in consumer behavior, the type that traditionally takes decades to achieve.”

While the last few years have allowed stores to resume normal operations, e-commerce is still thriving. Much of the draw to online shopping and curbside pickup comes from the convenience factor: shoppers can stay in their homes and browse products, placing orders without stepping into a store.

Often, customers must only open their front door to receive the product that they ordered. Whether it be clothing, tools, groceries, or fast food, almost anything imaginable can now be shipped directly to the customer’s home. This feature was especially important and embraced during the COVID-19 lockdowns, a time when the safety of others was of utmost concern.

Safety Concerns Lead to Consumer Ease-of-Access

In particular, food delivery services such as UberEats, Grubhub, and DoorDash experienced exponential growth during the pandemic, attaining a massive 70% increase from 2019 to 2020.

Hanna Gratteri began driving for DoorDash when she had a close contact at work and was quarantined for two weeks. With the free time, she decided to make some extra cash.

For many, ordering from DoorDash or other food delivery services is a matter of convenience, just like other online shopping platforms. Gratteri explained, “Since the lockdown, we got so used to being introverts” and preferred not to leave the house.

Global online shopping sales have increased by over 140% since 2019, with expert surveys projecting “e-commerce penetration to double in the next five years.”  It seems apparent that businesses should continue to seek ways to implement e-commerce options or improve existing e-commerce offerings and improve where necessary.

 Since the COVID-19 pandemic, explosions in technology have brought artificial intelligence and drone technology into the hands of businesses and consumers alike. This has created the possibility of reducing shipping time and avoiding human error. Customers have high expectations regarding shipping, often expecting it the next day or at least within two days. To meet this expectation, stores must continue to invest heavily in logistics and stay updated on emerging technologies, particularly AI.

From Temporary to Lasting

Signs show that although COVID-19 is “no longer a pandemic-level threat,” the changes brought to consumer expectations as well as new opportunities for businesses to capitalize upon are only growing. While nobody can predict the future, it is safe to say that e-commerce is flourishing here and now, and shopping trends forecast it will not be going anywhere soon.