By Ayya Lmahamad
As people around the globe started to adjust to the next normal, new COVID-19 realities, consumer habits and behaviors showed a significant change.
COVID-19 pandemic started to change the life of the whole world since the first cases of the virus were reported in China in December 2019. By early April 2020, the virus started to spread and the world had recorded one million cases.
World face-to-face with new realities
With the new realities that emerged from the coronavirus pandemic, there have been substantial and lasting changes in the way people live, work and shop. Home turned to be the focus for living, working and shopping. The pandemic has accelerated the shift toward a more digital world.
With the first lockdowns wave of March 2020, much of the world was forced to stay at home and restricted to leaving the house only to buy the essential items from grocery stores or pharmacies. At that time, consumer’s baskets were ‘inspired’ by panic buying, which forced retailers around the world to limit the number of purchases of high-demand items.
After months of lockdown and social distancing, consumers have been forces to shop differently- reprioritizing what is essential and using online shopping more than ever before.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s survey entitled ‘COVID-19 and E-commerce’ examined how the pandemic has changed the way consumers use e-commerce and digital solutions. The survey covered Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Switzerland and Turkey.
The researched outcomes show that the majority of the population started to use online shopping more often since the outbreak of COVID-19.
People started to spend more on pharmaceutical and health products, personal care, household products, education and online courses, tools, gardening, etc.
Hygiene and health are the two factors customers are more focused on nowadays. All household cleaners and hand sanitizers, soaps, cleaning gel, vitamins and supplements are at the top of consumer’s shopping lists.
Moreover, with the beginning of lockdown consumers started to spend more on electronics goods, as people were left to learn and work from home. If before lockdown the characteristics of home devices did not matter so much, then in the pandemic a normally working laptop or desktop computer became an item of prime necessity.
The spending on food and beverages also increased significantly. The initial rise in home cooking and baking, as well as home improvement, are remaining popular pastimes for consumers.
Meanwhile, during the lockdown, consumers lowered significantly their spending on cosmetics and sun care products, as people are not wearing make-up when working from home, stopped traveling during the pandemic and spent most of the time at home.
However, in the first quarter of 2021, a trend in increasing spending on clothing goods was observed. Perhaps, this is a kind of effect of the “symbolic end of the lockdown”, as of 2021 most of the countries started to ease the lockdown with the boosting of the vaccination process.
Similar trends in Azerbaijan
Mentioned trends in consumers behavior during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns were also observed in Azerbaijan.
Thus, the "panic buying" trend with the introduction of the first lockdown was observed in Azerbaijan as well. Consumer baskets were topped with food, pharmaceutical and health products at that time. Later on, consumers shifted to online shopping, the trend on which is still observed, despite the easing of the quarantine regime.
Moreover, with the introduction of the lockdowns and closing of the cafes and restaurants, the use of online food deliveries increased significantly in the country.
It is more likely to say that the habits formed during the pandemic will endure well beyond it, permanently changing values, attitudes, and behavior.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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