American Marketer


Preference for online shopping will continue through holidays: survey

August 3, 2020

Nordstrom Holiday 2018 Shoppers will likely avoid bricks-and-mortar stores this holiday season. Image courtesy of Nordstrom


A dramatic and sudden shift in consumer behavior that began with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic is expected to continue through the holiday shopping season, according to a new survey from Qubit.

More than half of consumers now do the majority of their shopping online, a change that Qubit warns retailers could be permanent after the pandemic. Shoppers are also less loyal to their favorite brands, posing another challenge to retailers.

“Shopper behavior has changed radically since the pandemic spread globally and will continue to look different during the 2020 holiday season,” said Graham Cooke, founder/CEO of Qubit, in a statement. “Store closures that are not dictated by demand, but rather by the public health crisis, present an unusual scenario for brands, forcing unexpected and massive overhauls of their marketing and digital commerce strategies this year.

Qubit’s survey was conducted in July 2020 with more than 800 consumers across the United Staes and United Kingdom.

Ecommerce acceptance
According to Qubit, half of consumers currently do more than 75 percent of all their shopping online — including buying groceries, apparel and beauty items. A quarter of shoppers do 90 percent of their shopping online.

Two-thirds of shoppers have increased their online shopping during COVID-19, and 35 percent expect they will continue to shop more online than than they did before the pandemic. Less than 11 percent of respondents will do less online shopping than they did before COVID.

Online shopping has increased during the coronavirus pandemic. Image credit: Qubit

With consumers being more receptive to ecommerce shopping, brands face more competition to attract shoppers.

Forty-six percent of shoppers agreed they are less loyal to their favorite brands, nearly 37 percent say they shop more brands than they did a year ago.

Looking ahead to the holiday season, more than four in 10 respondents — 44 percent — plan to shop more online during this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales compared to 2019. Only 28 percent of shoppers feel comfortable returning to stores for the holidays, and about 19 percent do not plan on resuming in-store shopping until 2021.

Online shopping is already growing more in popularity during the holidays.

During the 2019 holiday shopping season, online shopping activity peaked during Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales according to data from Contentsquare. Average cart and conversion rate, among other metrics, both saw jumps during that shopping weekend compared to the rest of the season (see story).