Online shopping forever changed



The pandemic has changed many things over the course of the past year. It proved once again that nothing is certain and that chaos is the true constant. From education to the economy, the covid-19 virus has infected the world in many different unpredictable ways. One of the most changed sectors is the e-commerce one. While many businesses are dwindling in fear of the future, online shopping remains ahead of the vital virus. Thus, just as our reality is forever changed, so is online shopping.

Two distinctive groups

In a way, the current health crisis has divided the retail l companies into two distinct groups. One of them with functioning e-commerce businesses and the other is without. Of course, by now it’s clear which side prevailed during the darkest hours of the epidemic. If anything, the only company to actually claim victory through this hardship is Amazon. The company didn’t just need to hire more workers and overhaul its supply chains, it had to. The increase in demand demanded more labor forces. Other retailers and companies that invested heavily in the e-commerce sector before the pandemic are also flourishing.

However, those who didn’t embrace the technology era more were the most unfortunate. Like small businesses, the pandemic has wreaked havoc on those with no online shops. 

Changing online shopping behaviors

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world. The changes we make now will have lasting effects as the world economy begins to recover,” 

stated the UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi. During the pandemic,  online purchases have increased by 6 to 10 percentage points across most product categories.

Thus, a Un survey indicates that  ICT/electronics, gardening/do-it-yourself, pharmaceuticals, education, furniture/household products, and cosmetics/personal care categories are the biggest gainers. 

On the other hand, the average person is spending less on online purchases. Hence, the average online monthly spending per shopper has dropped markedly.  Consumers in both emerging and developed economies have postponed larger expenditures. Moreover, those in emerging economies are keeping their focus on essential products for now.

Online consumption habits from all around the globe

“During the pandemic, online consumption habits in Brazil have changed significantly, with a greater proportion of internet users buying essential products, such as food and beverages, cosmetics and medicines,” said Alexandre Barbosa, manager of the Regional Center of Studies on the Development of Information Society (Cetic.br) at the Brazilian Network Information Center (NIC.br).

Furthermore, Increases in online shopping differs between countries. The survey noted that the strongest rise was in China and Turkey. On the other hand, the weakest was in Switzerland and Germany since more people there were already engaged in the e-commerce process.

The survey also mentioned that women and people with tertiary education increased their online purchases more than others. People from the ages of 25 to 44 have shown a stronger increase compared with the younger ones. In the case of Brazil, the increase was highest among the most vulnerable population.

Also, according to survey responses, “small merchants in China were most equipped to sell their products online and those in South Africa were least prepared”.

“Companies that put e-commerce at the heart of their business strategies are prepared for the post-COVID-19 era,” said Yomi Kastro, founder, and CEO of Inveon. “There is an enormous opportunity for industries that are still more used to physical shopping, such as fast-moving consumer goods and pharmaceuticals.”

“In the post-COVID-19 world, the unparalleled growth of e-commerce will disrupt national and international retail frameworks,” said Carlo Terreni, President, NetComm Suisse eCommerce Association.

“This is why policymakers should adopt concrete measures to facilitate e-commerce adoption among small and medium enterprises, create specialized talent pools, and attract international e-commerce investors.”

Changes are here to stay

Many are predicting that the changes will last a long time. The survey’s results are also leaning toward a lasting change. Furthermore,  Most respondents said they’d continue shopping online and focusing on essential products in the near future.


Charles Riley, CNN Business. (2020, October 13). Online shopping has been supercharged by the pandemic. There’s no going back. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/11/investing/stocks-week-ahead/index.htmlCOVID-19 has changed online shopping forever, survey shows | UNCTAD. (n.d.). Un News. Retrieved October 21, 2020, from https://unctad.org/news/covid-19-has-changed-online-shopping-forever-survey-showsMeyer, S. (2020, July 28). Understanding the COVID-19 Effect on Online Shopping Behavior. The BigCommerce Blog. https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/covid-19-ecommerce/#product-categories-shifting-during-covid-19Morgan, B. (2020, July 27). More Customers Are Shopping Online Now Than At Height Of Pandemic, Fueling Need For Digital Transformation. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2020/07/27/more-customers-are-shopping-online-now-than-at-height-of-pandemic-fueling-need-for-digital-transformation/#376c550b6bb9Sandbox, O. O. T. (2020, March 19). Coronavirus and commerce: Online shopping’s advantages and challenges in the face of a pandemic. Out of the Sandbox. https://outofthesandbox.com/blogs/shopify-theme-blog/coronavirus-ecommerce


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