Do COVID-19 prompt consumers for more shopping? Another side of EPIDEMIC


The business and consumer behaviour are being shaken up due to coronavirus on a larger scale. The private and public sectors are jousting to slow the spread of COVID-19. We know that there are drastic measures taken to contain the spread of COVID-19. The coronavirus outbreak has caused the global economy to fall drastically affecting major exports and imports. And it also made people to do Panic buying their daily essentials which led to problems in many countries. The pandemic of the coronavirus has led to many difficult situations for the daily wages and low-income level people who afford their living based on the salary and daily wages earned. On the other hand, the positive side due to this pandemic is that nature has recovered itself due to less pollution in the environment. There are blogs and news that show stats that the pollution level in major cities has come down drastically. Let’s not deviate from the topic, the below are the following areas which are impacted by the pandemic effect of COVID-19.

Consumer Electronics Sales Are Higher Than Before
Nowadays many people are adjusting to work, study, and spend more time in their home rather than outside so sales of consumer electronics significantly increased. Sales of webcams skyrocketed on March 22 (+ 534 per cent). Similarly, computer displays (+ 357 percent), modems (+ 379 percent) and educational applications (+ 223 percent) increased significantly. The items such as printers did well in march in France with a whopping + 1199 per cent increase in sales of printer consumables and a + 313 per cent increase in printer supplies, copiers and fax machines sales when compared to January 2020. The sales of laptop and computer in South Korea shoot up during February. And the sales of camera’s and optics also took the lead in March.

Grocery Sales Have Increased Drastically and Stocks Are Running Low
Shelf-stable grocery sales online in the US have risen significantly in recent months, which includes rice, whole flour, canned and bottled veggies, tinned beans and tinned and powder milk shows an increase of +432% for rice,+423% for wheat flour, +337% for bottled vegetables, +433% for canned beans, and +378% for powdered milk as compared 1st few weeks of January. This makes sense because during this difficult time people will hunker down the essential items and even do panic shopping to stock up their food supplies and the above mentioned are canned food so they have higher self-life than the normal foods because these foods are processed foods. Not only the sales of rice, flour and other processed food has increased but also the sales of fresh goods such as vegetables, fruits, eggs, meats, and even seafood saw increase demand and sales. The sales of milk and related products show an increase of +887% in the UK. The sales fruits & vegetables have reported a rise of 724 per cent on March 22, relative to the January average.
This is no wonder that facemask sales and household products sales are high as these are essential to protect us from the virus and to stop the spread, so from this is itself it is clear that the sales are very much higher than ever and this caused the masks to be out of stock lately.

Apparel Buying During The Epidemic
Digital sales in the luxury and fashion segment that includes products such as clothing, digital watches, jewellery, and modern handbags are staying consistently above their previous year numbers since the start of the year. We can see that growth in Jan 2020 continues to be unabated, even during the deteriorating outbreak of Coronavirus in the United States. Cosmo Lady, China’s largest undergarment and lingerie company, has shifted its focus to WeChat sales. They have engaged all employees by developing a revenue rating for every single staff member, including the CEO. The graphical representation of the above-mentioned items are shown in the following pictures;

Figure 1: The increment of Fashion & Luxury Sales

Fashion & Luxury Sales Increase Despite Coronavirus

Figure 2: The news related to Facemasks & Cleaning supplies

Figure 3: Consumers purchase behaviour during work-from-home

So to conclude, Consumers are gradually switching from offline shopping to online shopping and the practice does not stop once the epidemic is over. This will have a very positive effect on the entire e-commerce market. Marketers would need to be innovative in seeking ways to provide consumers and clients with personal experiences from a distance, exploring the potential of virtual activities, and delivering content in a more event-like style.

The adoption of and use of cashless payments will increase worldwide. WHO recommends that customers should use the online payment options whenever they purchase a product rather than using cash because cash can be a carrier of microorganism.

E-commerce is expected to expand as customers avoid traditional shops and crowded places for gathering, but this may pose logistical challenges. Whereas some sectors are likely to expand. Yet payment companies expect a general slowdown in the industry as consumer spending drop. And we might say the planet is seeing many ups and downs due to coronavirus. As a human, we hope that as soon as possible everything will come back to normal.

1. Prof. Vikas Arya
Associate Professor, Rajalakshmi School of Business, Chennai
Email –

2. Mr P. Vinot
MBA Student, Batch 2019-2021, RSB, Chennai