E-commerce lifestyle shift likely permanent

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - May 10, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The shift to buying goods online will likely be a lasting lifestyle as the pandemic has significantly changed retail behavior in Asia Pacific and the rest of the world, a global survey showed.

In its latest survey, GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company in the UK, said 87 percent of consumers in the region are now spending more time online.

This means that e-commerce retail is expected to benefit more and is poised for more growth potential even in a post-pandemic world.

The pandemic and its accompanying lockdowns allowed online shopping to grow exponentially, making it more appealing as consumers were told to stay at home. Restrictions and fear of acquiring the virus also led shoppers to spend more time at home browsing the internet.

GlobalData’s survey showed that 43 percent in the region are extremely concerned about the impact of the pandemic in general and 32 percent are extremely worried about their financial situation.

Convenience (73 percent) and time-saving aspect (67 percent) are the two primary drivers of online shopping in the Asia Pacific. Others include lower prices and variety and choice availability.

“The shift to online has become more of a permanent lifestyle as people embrace the joy of shopping online,” GlobalData retail analyst Ankita Roy said.

“Retailers must continue to focus on personalization as a differentiating factor to stand out in a crowded market. This will help the retailers to attract consumers who are often influenced by how well a product is tailored to their needs and personality,” she said.

Specifically, Roy said the prominent change in consumer behavior has been the willingness to cook more meals at home as the pandemic forced majority of people to work from home.

This has created an opportunity for the brands to target this behavior with affordable grocery options or to provide recipe inspirational videos online to attract more customers and promote their range of products.

Further, the survey revealed that the pandemic has led consumers to become health conscious, with health and well-being as among the most influential factors that determine their purchase decisions.

Some 86 percent of consumers in the region are often influenced by how a product and service impact their health.

“Consumers are looking for products made from natural ingredients now compared to pre-COVID-19 times. In line with this, brands must focus on increasing the level of transparency as trust in produce and authenticity will be key going forward,” Roy said.

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