Blog 3 min read

Changes in shopping behavior during corona

There’s no doubt that the corona pandemic has taken its toll on retail, and the state of the economy as a whole. Now that we are facing a second wave, we thought it was appropriate to share our findings on how the shopping behavior during corona changed this spring. This blog post summarizes some of the findings from our Corona Index Report* – which compares purchase behaviors in March and April 2019 to the same months 2020.

shopping behavior corona

Key findings in shopping behavior during corona

  • In retail as a whole, numbers were not as bad as we initially thought they would be. Overall, the results are down only 3 percent.
  • Changes in purchase behaviors are different depending on age
  • Women tend to be more cautious during a crisis than men

E-commerce outweighed the loss from physical stores

Yes, physical stores have suffered a lot during the pandemic, but the huge increase in e-commerce has outweighed that loss – significantly. E-commerce is up as much as 229 percent for some chains, and in retail overall, we see that revenues in the online stores are up by 16 percent.

The pandemic's impact on retail  Download guide

Age differences

It might not come as a surprise that the older generations have decreased their total spend since the covid-19 hit. What might raise your eyebrows though, is that the youngest generation increased their spending! And, they also visited physical stores more often than the previous year. The total spending online and in-store has increased by 67 percent! Could it be because the youngest is helping the older, by shopping for them?

Return rates have decreased

We all know what kind of impact returns have when it comes to costs and the environment. It’s an important parameter to focus on, so put the focus on reducing returns regardless.

With an increase in e-commerce spending during the pandemic, we automatically assumed that the return rates would climb with that. Boy, were we wrong! Total return rates during this period decreased by 14 percent. This could be due to people not wanting to leave the home to make a return with the risk of being infected.

Men vs. women’s shopping behavior during corona

  • Women

Females are more cautious during these times since we saw a sharp decline. That is especially clear in the apparel and shoe industry. This might be because they don’t see a lot of people during these times, and don’t feel the need to buy new clothing and shoes. Or, women hold on to their money and don’t spend it just to try something on that might not even fit. 

  • Men

It’s clear to see that the men are the big spenders during the pandemic. They have actually increased the number of purchases since last year, plus they spend more per purchase occasion. And it’s like men just found out about e-commerce since the upswing is a whole 49 percent compared to 2019! Perhaps this has to do with men spending more time at home and does all their shopping online. And they have more time to think about purchases that might improve the situation. Women, on the other hand, might have been doing more of that extensively before.

Get the full report

If you want more in-depth statistics, and recommendations – download the full Index report here.

* We made a random selection among 30 loyalty programs in Northern Europe to find out how they’ve been affected by the Covid pandemic. We’ve analyzed two months’ worth of purchase data from one million active customers and 1.7 million receipts, comparing March-April 2019 to March-April 2020.


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