The increase in online shopping because of COVID-19
Claire, Meighan & Sage
Ask almost anyone you know and they will probably tell you that they have engaged in online shopping. E-commerce sales have doubled exponentially each year but this pattern proves significantly more prominent this year. Will the recent pandemic have a lasting impact on the shopping industry?
As the public adapts to a new virtual world, a majority of Canadian consumers have flocked to online shopping. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major effect on the shopping industry and e-commerce sales. Will the pandemic have a lasting effect? Or is it just a temporary situation. There isn’t a concrete answer. What we do know is that ever since the pandemic began, consumers have switched from in-person shopping to online shopping. Many people find it more convenient and therefore easier. With just the click of a button, you can order items to your house instead of taking time out of your day to drive to a brick-and-mortar store to search around and buy them. Even though brick-and-mortar stores have taken huge negative hits from these changes (especially small businesses), this switch is a positive for businesses that were already based online and for everyday consumers. Having the option and flexibility of being able to pick between online shopping and in-person shopping is great as they are two different channels of distribution.
We interviewed a couple of students from North Toronto Collegiate Institute to ask them about their shopping habits and if and how they have changed over the past year. Leah Reskinezy, a grade 10 business student said: “I shop online more because finding clothing items online is very straightforward and easy. When searching online, the items are usually tagged with direct links to the products, which is much more convenient than searching for the exact clothes in-person”. Another grade 10 business student, Dylan Vlaad also reports similar shopping habits: “I used to solely shop in-person but now I will only shop online.” From these two quotes, there is a significant pattern and connection between the pandemic and what type of shopping people take part in. Shopify reported, “in 2020 that over 150 million new shoppers migrated online in the past year, with 79% of consumers indicating they plan to continue shopping online.” This will undoubtedly affect the shopping industry for a long time to come but many consumers will still shop in person for the same reasons they did before: being able to try things on, the fun of it, not having to wait for delivery/shipping.
UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi reiterates that “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world.” This supports the fact that many people have modified their ways of shopping to purchasing online and are not as interested in going into stores and malls. Whether they are open or not, people gravitate towards online shopping because it’s more practical, and at this time, safe. We can see from this situation that when one market rises, another one tends to fall. The retail sector will most likely never be in a pre-pandemic state again as this unmatched time in history has emphasized the popularity and benefits of online shopping and the e-commerce market.
- Akhtar, A.. “50+ Breathtaking Online Shopping Statistics You Never Knew.” MonsterInsights, 27 Nov. 2019, https://www.monsterinsights.com/50-breathtaking-online-shopping-statistics-you-never-knew/
- “COVID-19 Has Changed Online Shopping Forever, Survey Shows.” UNCTAD, 8 Oct. 2020, unctad.org/news/covid-19-has-changed-online-shopping-forever-survey-shows.