What are the main changes in purchasing behavior due to the pandemic? Will these changes consolidate in the near future or will we go back to the previous situation?

With physical stores closed during the height of outbreaks, consumers had little choice but to turn to digital channels to purchase goods and services. These transformations brought several consumers online for the first time and led existing e-commerce users to increase their online shopping frequency.

There are 2 main trends that characterize consumer behavior in 2021, compared to January 2020:

1- The so-called “digital consumers” have seen the greatest growth;

2- digital wallet and online reviews are key to guarantee a smooth and successful online shopping experiences.

According to Netcomm, from 2020 to 2021 purchasing behaviors have seen a strong shift towards online stores and platforms across different categories, from apparels to personal care. The consumers interviewed showed more willingness to engage with their favorite brands online than before the pandemic.

This was due mainly to a higher confidence and ease perceived by the consumers in using such channels. In particular, different payment options, supported by easy to use designs can be important marketing tools that can provide value to a digital store.

At the same time, reviews’ role in digital marketing strategies is gaining points, as users’ comments can be used also to gain insights on what consumers want, and tone the experience with changes in customer journey. 

Does this mean that brick & mortars are gone forever? Not at all, as many consumers still long for the return of in store shopping. However, even traditional shopping behaviors, such as going in person to purchase goods at the store, may include digital touchpoints.

Consumers will still carry their smartphone with them, and will use them to compare prices with online retailers, look for reviews and show coupons. In this case it will be up to the sellers to merge offline and online to provide the most complete purchasing experience to their customers.

All in all, online purchases will still experience a certain decrease once this sanitary crisis will be out of the way, but the percentage of brands that will quite likely continue to adopt digital touchpoints within its customer journeys and adopt multichannel strategies will remain higher than in the pre-pandemic period.