What does COVID-19 mean for the future of e-commerce?


The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused a massive change in how the UK population is spending their money. 

To help online retailers understand what the new world of consumer behaviour means for the state of e-commerce, conversion rate optimisation agency, User Conversion, has released their survey and report conducted with OnePoll UK.

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

Key findings: 

  • While traffic is declining, we’re generally seeing increased progression rates / lower abandonment rates across all sectors, as users shift from a browsing to buying mentality 
  • Compared to contactless delivery; speed of delivery appears to be a bigger driver (especially when free) for users during this time
  • COVID-19 appears to have created a long-term desire amongst those aged 35-44 for ecommerce, who previously may not have used online retailers as much 
  • While ¾ of the UK are unlikely to make a luxury purchase during these challenging times, there is certainly an appetite for luxury and it’s all about using content to create attachment
  • Even after the virus infection rates have slowed, 30% of users believe that they are more likely to move towards online in favour of retail, driven by those aged 18-44

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.

Managing director at User Conversion, Mark Leach, comments: “The future of e-commerce has accelerated years in a matter of weeks, and 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 e-commerce journey for their customers now. With the increases in traffic and revenue from e-commerce, it will be important for businesses both large and small to stand out from the crowd, for all the right reasons.”