The pandemic may have permanently changed the way we shop – NBC 7 San Diego
With people staying at home and shops closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, many of our habits have changed, including the way we shop.
“The pandemic has really changed consumer behavior,” said Miro Copic, professor of marketing at SDSU. “You’ve gone from 15% online spending to between 30% and 40% online spending for most of 2020.”
As more people are vaccinated and San Diego stores reopen, Copic believes there will be an initial increase in in-person purchases.
“For retail, I think consumers, especially in malls, will be happy to return to malls,” Copic said. “It’s because it’s just a sense of relief, but we’re going to end up being in a different place when it comes to how people buy and that’s going to be a major issue for retailers.
Small business owners say the pandemic has forced them to change their ways as well.
“I definitely made a lot of changes during the pandemic,” said Tanya McAnear of Bad Madge and Company in South Park. “It was do or die. We had to adapt.”
The surge in online shopping will decrease a bit. Copic says he doesn’t expect it to stay at the 40% high, but will be higher than the previous 15%.
“This will be a permanent change that will have a huge impact on retail locations,” Copic said. “Consumers have really become comfortable with shopping online.”
McAnear has definitely moved a lot more online orders. Her store was closed for two months, so she started an Instagram live event Thursday night from her store. She says she knows people want to shop in person, but still want to stay safe.
Medical bills can be confusing, but one of the most shocking ones you get is your ambulance ride. NBC’s Consumer Bob 7 has more.
“How do you make people feel comfortable and want to shop?” McAnear asked. “I think people really want to get out of their homes. They don’t just want to sit in front of a screen.”
The pandemic has prompted many people to test grocery delivery and pickup services. Unlike the surge in online shopping, Copic says the drop in grocery deliveries will be much more noticeable.
“Most grocery shoppers tend to like going to the grocery store because there is so much that they have to look and see,” Copic said.
It’s also because most grocery stores are closer to where people live, making it much more convenient for people to shop in person.
In addition to buying behaviors, Copic also believes many grocers and other retailers will maintain the safety precautions they have taken, such as sanitizing stations or plastic barriers.
Consumer Bob of NBC 7 Responds examines the pros and cons of laminating vaccine cards and how they have been protected in the past.
“They will keep them in place until they feel out of danger,” Copic said.
Due to the surge in online shopping, there may also be a shift in shopping vacations. Copic says he expects to see even more Black Friday or back-to-school deals online.
“This is a gradual change in consumer behavior,” Copic said.