Study: Frequent online shoppers grew 80 percent during emergency situation

During the emergency situation, there was a surge in the number of online shoppers and the number of people who regularly shop online grew 80 percent compared with the April-May period of 2019, a study carried out by pollster Kantar Emor shows.

The number of people who had not previously shopped online but started too during the coronavirus crisis grew, the yearly study of e-commerce trends shows. New online shoppers most frequently purchased groceries, electronics, medicines and gardening supplies, Kantar Emor's research showed.

Kersten Jõgi, shopper behavior expert at Kantar Emor, said in 2019 the share of people who had bought something over the internet during the preceding year was 73 percent, the number had grown to 92 percent this year.

The share of frequent online shoppers who make online purchases at least twice or three times per month has grown from 23 percent to 41 percent.

Considering the growth trend of online shopping thus far, it would have taken us over three years to reach this level under normal circumstances, Jõgi said.

She noted restrictions on shopping at brick-and-mortar stores shook up people's ordinary habits.

"Obviously, a large share of purchases returned to regular commerce as the situation normalized; however, allegedly 16 percent of online shoppers continued making more purchases from online stores," Jõgi said.

Broken down by groups of goods, the number of online shoppers has grown most among people who bought their medicines online - the segment is now 2.7 times larger than last year.

The groups to follow are groceries and gardening supplies, which also saw their number of online customers double.

The number of people who shop online for electronics has grown 83 percent. Jõgi speculated the growth was largely prompted by people starting to work and study remotely as the emergency situation was declared in mid-March and needing a variety of technical devices for this purpose. 

Jõgi noted during the crisis, global businesses lost many customers to local online stores - a trend which was particularly noticeable in the electronics segment as the e-shops of 1a and Euronics became the most popular electronics retailers, whereas Estonian shoppers' long-time favorite AliExpress underwent a large drop in popularity.

Kantar Emor's study into e-commerce trends covered online shopping experiences and practices, the ratio of domestic and foreign online stores, use of various technical devices and most popular e-stores. The 2020 survey period in April and May coincided with the end of the COVID-19 emergency situation and closure of shopping malls, which significantly affected online shopping figures.

Altogether 1,000 Estonian residents aged 15-74 were polled in the study from April to May 2020.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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