Change is inevitable. What should you expect next?

A survey with the title of “COVID-19 and E-commerce” conducted by the Swiss E-commerce and Digital Association, NetComm Suisse, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD in partnership with Inveon was published in early October with a webinar. 

Due to Covid-19, consumer behavior is changing rapidly, and well-planned actions must be taken to keep up with changes. As Inveon, we‘re glad to be part of this survey which will help digital commerce players to build a better understanding of changing customer behavior and improve their strategies accordingly.  

Changing consumer behavior in 9 countries

The survey examined the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer behavior and hence e-commerce dynamics. 3.700 consumer responses were collected from 9 emerging and developed countries; Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, South Africa, Switzerland, and Turkey. The survey compared the behavior of consumers during Covid and pre-Covid. Participants identified their preferences on different product categories, their spending or payment and delivery choices.

After the drastic changes in daily life following the pandemic; more than 50% of the customers tended to shop online more. Although the number of consumers turning to online shopping increased in general trends, this increase varied among countries. Among the research countries; China and Turkey are the countries presenting the strongest increase while countries with more settled e-commerce habits like Germany and Switzerland had the weakest increase.


Expenditure per online purchase decreased

Even though consumers are more willing to shop online, the average expenditures per online purchase for most categories decreased. Food & beverages, books & media, and tools & gardening are the only categories in which people increased their spending. The decline was mostly observed in the travel & tourism, consumer electronics & ICT products, and fashion & accessories categories. Additionally, almost 35% of consumers suggested that they postponed large expenditures. Especially female consumers and those older than 45 years, lean more towards this approach.

Almost 40% of research attendants stated that they changed their focus to essential products. This shift in essentials was observed mostly in developing countries. In more developed countries like Germany or Switzerland, there was no indication of such shifts.

essentials 1

While people are more into digital commerce, delivery options and preferences of consumers become an important topic to analyze. Home delivery is the first choice but second preferences differ from country to country. Whilst in some countries like China and Italy pick-up points took second place; in the Republic of Korea, Germany, and Switzerland people preferred doorstep drop-offs.  Distinctly from other countries, in the Russian Federation pick-up point usage ranked almost as popular as home delivery.

As measures were taken all over the world, people changed their behavior towards domestic options. In 6 out of 8 countries, more than 50% of people indicated that they intend to spend their next holidays in their home country, especially in Turkey, the Republic of Korea, and the Russian Federation. While people in Germany and Switzerland didn’t agree much on that matter. In general, consumers between the age of 25 and 44 showed more interest in domestic travel.


Finally, the study explored whether consumers’ changing habits will continue after the pandemic. In China and Turkey, a large majority of consumers stated that they would prefer to shop online rather than visit physical stores in the post-pandemic era. Whereas, consumers in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and the Russian Federation preferred to show balanced usage between digital and physical stores in the future.

A few highlights of the main findings of the survey;

  • More than 50% of customers tended to shop online more.
  • Average expenditures per online purchase for most categories decreased.
  • Almost 35% of the consumers suggested that they postponed large expenditures
  • 40% of research attendants stated that they changed their focus to essential products
  • Home delivery became the first preference across 9 countries.
  • More than 50% of people intend to spend their next holidays in their home country.

For country-specific analyzes, comparisons, and more insights you can reach the complete report by contacting us here.

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