The Effect of COVID-19 On Online Shopping Behavior

It’s been almost six years since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 an international pandemic. Since then, everything has changed.

Retail has been one the hardest-hit areas of society, with companies and physical stores closing until further notice.

Everyone is making the best of their fears and taking measures to protect themselves, their loved ones, and the world from the virus. There are 41 cases of the virus in 41 countries. This means that we can expect to see more dramatic changes in our buying habits over the coming weeks, months and years.

One of the biggest changes in recent years has been in consumer buying habits, which have all but shifted to online.


The current crisis has brought many consumer trends to the forefront. One of these trends is the dramatic shift in buying behavior that consumers are experiencing as they adjust to the digital marketplace.

As businesses shut down, they are moving their business online. Consumers now see products and services with a different perspective. People have a new way of living, shopping, and acting that is unlike any other.

A survey by Numerator Intl. shows that July 2020 brought about a dramatic change in shoppers’ behavior and sentiments concerning COVID-19. Consumers are now shopping online and prefer essential items to luxury products, rather than panic buying. They are also astonished at the benefits of health and exercise.

The first step in understanding how consumer sentiments change is to evaluate where people stand with COVID-19.

1. Rising fear and insecurity

Many people panic bought food, household products, and other necessities when they heard about COVID-19. Fear and uncertainty are driving this buying habit as people adjust to the pandemic’s effects on society.

Customers seek to have some control over these rising fears and uncertainties.

2. Crowd mentality

Henry David Thoreau once stated that the “mass of men leads lives full of quiet despair.” Information overload regarding COVID-19 has the potential to affect consumer behavior. It can also enforce crowd mentality. This attitude describes how people respond to their influence by adopting behaviors.

This is a wrong way to think, but it can lead to being influenced by other people from an emotional perspective rather than a rational one.

When people hear different perspectives and read multiple sources, they are more likely to fall for the “herd mentality”. This is when people have an increased instinct to stay one step ahead. To add fuel to this fire, it is helpful to see other people clearing out the grocery shelves.

Think about it: Economic downturns can push customers to be resourceful so they won’t lose their way.

3. Mindful consumerism

Consumers are changing their priorities ever since the pandemic. They are becoming more aware of their purchases.

This crisis saw conscious consumers attempting to limit food waste, use sustainable products and prioritize essential goods over other goods. Data from Digital Commerce 360 supports the increasing trend of mindful consumer as well as growing support for local businesses.