The most shocking change in consumer behavior was the mass levels of panic buying. Caused by high levels of anxiety, worry, and in the most part because everyone else was doing it, voracious consumers left the aisles of grocery stores and pharmacies empty. US retail sales rose by 17.7%, while UK grocery sales increased by 22%. In China, JD.com reported that its online grocery sales grew 215% year over year during a 10-day period between late January and early February. While these trends are leveling out, a lasting impact will likely be seen in the value people are beginning to place on essential items such as basic foodstuffs, hygiene products, and pharmaceuticals.
As the reality of lockdown began to settle in the public consciousness, shoppers shifted to ecommerce in their droves. Processed volume via Adyen for online retail increased between the end of March and middle of April. Excluding purchases of necessities, shoppers shifted to online shopping to ease the boredom of isolation. In Britain, March sales of electricals and DIY products were up 42% and 14% respectively. Many retailers were quick to move their businesses online or explore other methods of selling to loyal customers remotely.
GrandVision, the leading optical retailer, noticed the shift immediately:
Alberto Dal Santo ∙ Head of E-Commerce, GrandVision Italia