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Impact of Coronavirus on Consumer Shopping Behavior and Retail Ecommerce

NetElixir has always worked with online retailers on providing consumer insights, into analyzing how and when customers click, search, shop, and buy. We wanted to know if, during times of global outbreak like the coronavirus, online consumers altered their shopping and searching behavior in noticeable ways and what this shift could mean for digital marketers and retailers.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, people are concerned about inventory stocking, supply chains, remote working, and company preparedness, as well as overall health and hygiene issues. The NRF issued a positive outlook on the economy, which could be bolstered by online sales. NetElixir has researched how shoppers are navigating online sites, as we continue to observe day-to-day changes in their search and purchasing behavior. 

NetElixir hypothesized that people in the United States, as they started to stay home more to avoid public spaces and contamination, would turn to ecommerce sites to sustain their supply needs and occupy their time. This shift to more online transactions would boost ecommerce sales. While performing their research, our analysts considered the following questions:

  • How is coronavirus impacting online sales across 7 retail categories?
  • How is coronavirus influencing the online shopper behavior?
  • How can retail marketers prepare for this Black Swan event?

A simple search for “hand sanitizer” has evolved from looking into specific stores and brands to hand sanitizer left nearby to step-by-step DIY tutorials for hand sanitizer substitutes. Demand has made searchers get creative in looking for solutions in order to protect their health from infection and contagion. Our lab analysts could isolate data based on geography and we noticed more searches in areas where the number of coronavirus cases are more severe.

Hand sanitizer search queries have changed amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Changes in search queries for “hand sanitizer” have shown how consumers are evolving their approach to finding what they need.

How NetElixir Powered Our Search

Using our proprietary customer analytics tool, LXRInsights, NetElixir’s Intelligence Lab analyzed real-time data over two 21-day periods to track factors such as Year Over Year (YOY) sales, Average Order Value (AOV), latency, and more to see if there has been any significant changes in online shopping behavior during the coronavirus outbreak. The 7 categories we covered were Women’s Apparel, Home Improvement, Tools and Hardware, Food and Gourmet, Gifting, Equine Supply, and Home Furnishings. With data pulled as recently as Saturday, NetElixir has been studying daily search intent to notice any minute shift that may be caused by the coronavirus outbreak. 

As the outbreak continues and each day brings something new, NetElixir will continue to track the online searching and shopping behaviors of consumers to see if prominent trends arise during times of crisis. 

Our blog posts will provide retail analytics updates on how key key metrics are shifting during this time. We will provide these updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, as we continue to collect day-to-day data on consumer shopping behavior and ecommerce sales.

Register for our follow-up webinar, which will provide deeper insights into how the coronavirus continues to affect online shoppers. Then, tune in for our webinar on Thursday, March 26, at 2 PM ET. We have continued to collect daily data to observe how shoppers are navigating their online purchases during these unprecedented times.

Supplementary reading materials that bolstered this presentation: