The Covid-19 pandemic has permanently changed consumer behaviour towards online shopping, and governments must accelerate digitalization to allow companies to seize the opportunity, a UNCTAD survey released on Friday states.
Since the onset of the pandemic, more than half of shoppers have been shopping more often and turning more to the web in search of news, health information and entertainment, the Covid-19 and Online Store survey found.
The survey included about 3,700 respondents in Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland and Turkey and was conducted by UNCTAD with Netcomm Suisse eCommerce Assocation, the Brazilian Network Information Center and Inveon.
The highest growth in online purchases was recorded in China and Turkey, and the most modest in Switzerland and Germany, where a large number of consumers bought online even before the pandemic.
People bought more categories of products on the Internet, and the purchase of electronic equipment, tools, medicines, courses, furniture and cosmetics and hygiene supplies jumped the most.
“Companies that put e-commerce at the heart of their business strategy are ready for the post-Covid-19 period,” concluded Inveon founder and CEO Yomi Kastro. "Those who are still more focused on physical shopping are presented with a huge opportunity in the segment of high-frequency consumer goods and medicines," explains Kastro.
The pandemic has also changed consumers ’priorities and encouraged them to think twice before opening their wallets, research has shown.
Thus, average monthly consumption per customer has fallen significantly since the beginning of the pandemic, with consumers in developed and emerging economies delaying higher expenditures and developing economies focusing more on basic products.
Spending on tourism and travel fell the most, by 75 percent, and on furniture and electronic goods, by 53 and 48 percent, respectively. Consumption on food, medicine, media and books decreased the most, by 11 and 23 percent, respectively.