Because of a mix of necessity and our evolving digital media consumption, consumer shopping habits have changed substantially as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic. According to research, time spent engaging with digital media climbed by 15% between 2019 and 2022, reaching an average of eight hours each day. With an annual increase predicted, it’s clear that digital media (and the technology we use to consume it) will continue to play a significant role in our lives, and that consumer purchasing habits will evolve.
Consumers’ interactions with shops have changed dramatically since the pandemic began. As a result, merchants in Canada have had to alter their in-store and online strategies to match consumer demands.
Impacts on digital consumption
During the epidemic, mobile device usage skyrocketed, with app usage accounting for more than three-quarters of the time spent on the device and exceeding three hours per day. This is mainly due to an increase in in-app transactions during the pandemic, particularly for Amazon and grocery delivery services.
One of the key reasons for the surge in digital consumption is multitasking. While a customer browses, their television, for example, may be on in the background, increasing the amount of time they spend on their devices. On average, Canadians spend an hour and 46 minutes on social media while on their phones, with Facebook accounting for 35 minutes, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok following closely behind.
The most significant improvements are associated with behaviours that are performed at home. Shopping online and ordering things to pick up in-store has increased, while social activities like dining out have decreased.
Changes to the delivery
The way people buy and acquire things has changed as the COVID-19 regulations have changed, making it more difficult to enter the retail industry. Before the pandemic, online shopping and home delivery were common, but “click & collect” was a relatively new concept that has grown significantly since the epidemic. 30% of consumers indicated this technique had become a regular part of their routine in November 2020, up from 18% just seven months before. Retailers must consider these changes to the distribution process as long-term realities, not merely present tactics.
Changes observed in buying behaviour
People’s buying patterns have changed dramatically since the epidemic. COVID-19 has influenced 85 percent of Canadians’ purchasing patterns, with half indicating that they now buy basic in-store items online.
Online retail purchasing, restaurant ordering services, and online grocery delivery services are just a few of the retail businesses that have seen substantial popularity shifts. Furthermore, the kinds of items accessible for purchase on the internet have changed.
As a result of COVID-19, there have been reports of generational disparities in shopping behaviour. Boomers (1946–1964), according to studies, are less likely to shop in stores and more likely to shop online. Meanwhile, in terms of purchasing behaviours, millennials (1983–1998) and Gen Xers (1965–1982) are practically identical, with millennials (1983–1998) and Gen Xers (1965–1982) both performing less in-store shopping and more online shopping. By 2020, Canadian eCommerce retail sales will have increased by 71 percent to $37 billion.
Growth in D2C Companies
Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) eCommerce sales climbed by 45 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, and the anticipated figures are promising: Eighty percent of consumers are anticipated to make at least one D2C purchase in the next five years.
Nike projected a 33 percent increase in overall revenue from D2C sales in 2019, while L’Oréal reported a large increase in total eCommerce sales from 16 percent in 2019 to 30 percent in 2020.
Here are two impactful ways advertisers have shown up during the pandemic in recent weeks:
While many individuals feel stressed and isolated when they are restricted to their houses, Ikea Canada saw an opportunity to shift people’s perceptions about physical separation by bringing its English- and French-speaking customers back into their homes. The new series #MaketheMostofHome aimed to remind people of the stable worlds they had already constructed — whether it was playing with kids, dancing, making music, or simply relaxing with loved ones — as the world around them changed.
Destination: British Columbia
Domestic and international travel has been severely disrupted as people throughout the world continue to follow government directives to remain at home. For example, Destination British Columbia has had to abandon it's usual “come see us” pitch in favour of something more relevant. Staying home and fantasizing about future vacations will allow people to return to the beauty of BC sooner.
As a result of COVID-19, consumer purchasing habits have evolved substantially. As eCommerce has grown in popularity, brand loyalty has eroded. Local and ethical purchasing is becoming more essential than ever before, D2C startups are growing, a focus on digital-first is becoming more visible in marketing budgets, and many retailers are increasing their digital spending to respond to changing consumer behaviour. Consumer behaviour has been significantly disrupted, leading to a change in how retailers conduct business. Businesses that can quickly adapt to these new consumer and digital trends will be better positioned for post-pandemic success.