(Image credit/Pixabay/ rostichep)The COVID-19 outbreak means the eCommerce sector is heading into the unknown. The outbreak has caused a massive change in how the UK population is spending their money. User Conversion, a conversion rate optimisation agency, has released its latest survey conducted with OnePoll UK.

The report outlines the findings from a nationally representative survey conducted with OnePoll UK. It was based on a survey of 2,000 users, of whom 92% said that they’d consider buying online. It aims to help online retailers understand the new world of consumer behaviour means for the state of eCommerce.

Ecommerce Europe interviewed eCommerce associations, company members and business partners. It found that 65% of respondents expect the pandemic will lead to a decline in sales, a partial or complete closure of business during quarantine measures, and the release of staff. In contrast, 66% of the UK population say they will be shopping online more than usual over the next few months. A somewhat unsurprising result, given the current lockdown and store closures imposed by the government.

Increasing user confidence

This push towards eCommerce has placed a higher level of importance on online shopping. Seventy-two percent of the UK now agreeing that online shopping is more important than ever. This shift in behaviour appears to impact those aged 35-44 most, placing the highest importance on ecommerce. Perhaps as they no longer have the ability to visit stores whilst their children are at school.

According to the report, user confidence in online shopping appears to be increasing. Less than 5% of the UK saying they were not confident about shopping online. A by-product of this however, is that traffic levels are generally down. Consumers shift behaviour from ‘browsing’ to only ‘essential’ purchases starts to cut through.

The nationally representative survey investigates expected behaviours of the online UK population during and after COVID-19.

Key findings:

  • While traffic is declining, the report generally sees increased progression rates / lower abandonment rates across all sectors. Users are expected to shift from a browsing to buying mentality.
  • Online confidence is high because store confidence is low. Users are more likely to persist with these.
  • The online food industry is driving user expectations for online services. However, many users reporting concerns with delivery (particularly free delivery) and stock across-industry.
  • Compared to contactless delivery; speed of delivery appears to be a bigger driver for users during this time.
  • COVID-19 appears to have created a long-term desire amongst those aged 35-44 for eC.ommerce. Particularly among those who previously may not have used online retailers as much.
  • While 75% of the UK are unlikely to make a luxury purchase during these challenging times, there is certainly an appetite for luxury. The report suggests it’s all about using content to create attachment.
  • After the virus infection rates have slowed, 30% of users believe they are more likely to move towards online in favour of retail. This trend is driven by those aged 18-44.

The future of eCommerce

The report states that while now is probably not the right time for businesses to be using experimentation to make decisions, it’s an opportunity for businesses to challenge their proposition in the current climate. If done correctly, businesses can expect to capitalise on these long-term, online shopping behavioural changes, with users more reliant on ecommerce, post-COVID-19.

(Image credit/LinkedIn/Mark Leach)
Mark Leach, Managing Director at User Conversion

Mark Leach, Managing Director at User Conversion says, “The future of eCommerce has accelerated years in a matter of weeks. Once this crisis is over things will not go back to how they were. This will inevitably create gaps that will need to be filled. Businesses who have a compelling proposition should be designing an optimal ecommerce journey for their customers now. It will be important for businesses both large and small to stand out from the crowd, for the right reasons.”

Enterprise Times: What this means for business?

Needless to say, there’s been a few reports attempting to get an early understanding of COVID-19 pandemic on consumer attitudes. However, the User Conversion report appears to be the most comprehensive yet. The report outlines the attitudes and expected behaviours of the UK online population during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we enter an unprecedented situation that’s likely to evolve over the coming weeks, businesses needing to understand consumers’ needs. Enterprises also need to understand their expected behaviours during this challenging time.

The report discusses how attitudes towards online shopping have changed. It explores how reliance currently placed on eCommerce has altered user behaviours and opportunities online retailers can harness to succeed.


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