Figures from the newly released 2020 IPC Domestic E-Commerce Shopper Survey Pilot have revealed that 52% of consumers bought more online from domestic e-retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic than before. The survey was based on 6,184 online shoppers in eight countries – Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Portugal, the UK and the US.

The research took place in June and July 2020 and was the first time IPC focused on domestic markets rather than cross-border e-commerce. The survey also shows that 78% of consumers were satisfied with the delivery speed of their online purchases during that period.  

Holger Winklbauer, IPC’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “In combination with the existing IPC Cross-Border E-Commerce Shopper Survey, this research provides significant insights into the domestic preferences and experience of online shoppers. With a focus on current trends and a shared methodology, postal operators are able to compare markets at different stages of e-commerce maturity and understand how to best adapt their offerings to consumers’ expectations.” 

The survey looked at the habits and experiences of consumers regularly shopping online from domestic online retailers. A major focus was the COVID-19 crisis and how it influenced shopping habits, with specific questions regarding shopper habits during the pandemic in the first half of 2020. 

The COVID-19 crisis led to a major increase in e-commerce and possibly to persistent change in e-commerce habits. The survey also shows that posts were able to deal with increased volumes and meet consumers’ expectations in terms of delivery speed”, added Winklbauer.

Online shopping increased during pandemic

While more than half of consumers indicated that they shopped more online during the pandemic, the study revealed that 49% of consumers plan to shop more online in the future.

At country level, the growth has been highest in Portugal (65%). In the US and UK – which both already have a high level of e-commerce – more than six out of ten consumers said that they bought more online during the lockdown.
When asked about their reasons for buying online rather than in-store, almost one in four (23%) shopped online because shops were closed due to COVID-19. This was particularly high for UK consumers (38%).

The categories which saw the biggest increase in online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic were clothing, footwear & apparel (bought more by 29% of respondents), groceries (27%), and health & beauty (25%).  The latter also include online purchase of Personal Protective Equipment related to COVID-19. Online grocery shopping grew the most in the UK, with 38% of consumers buying more groceries online. 

The majority of consumers are satisfied with the speed of delivery during the COVID-19 lockdown 

Overall, 78% of consumers were satisfied with the delivery speed of their purchases, of which 45% were extremely / very satisfied. However, almost a third (32%) of respondents felt that delivery for their most recent domestic e-commerce purchase took longer than usual due to COVID-19. 

Impact of the COVID-19 crisis on future online shopping habits

49% of consumers surveyed plan to shop more online in the future due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At country level, consumers in the US, Greece and the UK had the strongest intent to shop online more in the future too.