What are consumers are purchasing online during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to some drastic changes in online shopping behavior these days, including a general surge in demand for platforms like Amazon.

Nonperishable food, exercise equipment and disposable gloves are among the big sellers

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to some drastic changes in online shopping behavior these days, including a general surge in demand for platforms like Amazon. However, not all product categories are being equally sought out by consumers right now, as can be seen from a graph by Visual Capitalist.

Retail intelligence firm Stackline analyzed ecommerce sales across the U.S. and compiled a list of the fastest growing and declining ecommerce categories (March 2020 vs. March 2019) with surprising results.

Image: Visual Capitalize

With online retail sales estimated to reach an eye-watering $6.5 trillion by 2023, the ecommerce sector was already booming. But since the outbreak, online shopping has been catapulted into complete overdrive. Even the largest retailers on the planet are struggling to keep up with the unprecedented consumer demand—but what exactly are people buying? 

The Frenzy of Consumer Behavior

As people come to terms with their new living situations, their buying behavior has adapted to suit their needs. While panic buying may have slowed in some countries, consumers continue to stock up on supplies, or “pandemic pantry products”. 

Many consumers are also using their newfound time to focus on their health, with 85% of consumers taking up some kind of exercise while in social isolation, and 40% of them saying they intend to keep it up when restrictions are lifted. 

These changing behaviors have resulted in a number of product categories experiencing a surge in demand — and although a lot of them are practical, others are wonderfully weird.

What is the fastest growing categories?

While the below list features several shelf-stable items, it seems as though consumers are taking matters into their own hands, with bread making machines sitting in second place and retailers selling out of their top models.

It’s obvious from the list that consumers are considering positive changes to their lifestyle while in isolation, as fitness, smoking cessation, and respiratory categories are all experiencing growth.

Here is the 50 fastest growing product categories:

Image: Visual Capitalize
Image: Visual Capitalize
Image: Visual Capitalize
Image: Visual Capitalize

Interestingly, toilet paper has seen more growth than baby care products, and cured meats have seen more growth than water. But while some categories are experiencing a drastic increase in demand, others are falling in the pandemic economy.

So, what is the Fastest Declining Categories?

The pandemic has made considerable number of vacation being cancelled which is having a huge impact on the products people consume. For example, luggage and suitcases, cameras, and men’s swimwear have all seen a dip in sales.

Explore the 20 fastest declining categories below:

Image: Visual Capitalize
Image: Visual Capitalize

The New Normal?

Officially the world’s largest retailer, Amazon has announced it can no longer keep up with consumer demand. As a result, it will be delaying the delivery of non-essential items, or in some cases not taking orders for non-essentials at all. 

This presents a double-edged sword, as the new dynamic that is bringing some retailers unprecedented demand could also bring about an untimely end for others. Meanwhile, the question remains: will this drastic change in consumer behavior stabilize once we flatten the curve, or is this our new normal?

Source: Visual Capitalist


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