During the pandemic, online shopping experienced a notable uptick as more consumers became comfortable with the technology. And while the trend has been largely consistent throughout the pandemic, the rapid nature of the shift in consumer behavior raised questions of staying power.
According to new data from SAP’s Influential Shopper report, which surveyed more than 4,000 global consumers in September 2020, the number-one reason consumers of every generation shops online is the convenient “ability to shop anywhere at any time.” In fact, the study found that it is convenience, not safety, that will drive online shopping in the long term.
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Further, the survey found that once restrictions ease new online consumer behaviors are likely to continue, with more than 60 percent of respondents saying they agree or strongly agree that they will maintain some of their new online shopping habits after the pandemic ends. And while Millennials have largely led the online shopping spend during the pandemic, it was Baby Boomers who demonstrated the biggest shift to online spending during this time. Still, once COVID-19-related restrictions ease SAP’s analysis shows Baby Boomers may be the toughest audience to hold onto with the largest generational percentage of respondents saying they are likely to revert to pre-pandemic spending habits.
“In the future, the key to success for brands is to identify ways to meet the needs of and create exceptional experiences for all generational groups in whichever setting they choose — whether that’s in-store or across various online channels,” said Paula Hansen, customer experience chief revenue officer at SAP. “Businesses need to tailor and target their marketing with careful consideration of age and shopping method of choice, to provide a seamless customer experience and guide shoppers down the path to purchase. This will put businesses on the path to a strong recovery and provide the agility to deal with future crises.”
Across the Baby Boomer cohort, the books, toys and games category showed the biggest increase in online spending share at 23 percent followed closely by footwear, clothing, and accessories at 21 percent. Similarly, the footwear, clothing, and accessories category was a second by Millennials with a 10 percent increase, though ranked top by Gen X consumers with a 15 percent increase. The top category for the largest spend increase by Millennials was the consumer electronics and appliances category with an 11 percent increase. The fitness and wellness category was revealed to have the biggest online spend increase by Gen Z with 15 percent.
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