State of eCommerce: Buyer Habit Trends
Last Updated: May 26, 2020
More shoppers are buying online than ever before. Let’s take a look at what items are most popular and how eCommerce sellers can set themselves up for long-term success.
The world as we know it has changed. As COVID-19 forces us to stay at home in order to keep safe, nearly everyone is discovering a “new normal” way of traversing daily life. We can no longer just go to work, meet for lunch, run errands or shop for hours at brick and mortar stores like we used to.
This has led to more people than ever before buying what they need online. Case in point, Facteus estimates that consumer spending has resulted in Amazon showing a growth of 108% compared to last year.
From essentials like toilet paper and face masks, to “new essential” products that make sheltering in place more palatable, certain items are being purchased as quickly as sellers can stock them. Let’s take a look at some of the products that are seeing the biggest jump in sales and explore ways eCommerce pros can thrive in today’s marketplace.
Essential items are the products that everyone needs to stay safe, clean and healthy. Thanks to COVID-19, this not only encompasses typical essentials like food and water, but also products that enable us to slow the spread of germs and protect ourselves. Some of the online items that are selling out as soon as they are stocked include:
- Toilet Paper
- Paper Towels
- Face Masks
- Protective Gloves
- Hand Soap & Sanitizer
- Cleaning Products / Disinfectants
- Over-the-Counter Medications (such as Tylenol)
In addition to true essential items, there are several types of products that are seeing dramatic online sales boons during the crisis. This is because, as people are forced to remain at home, they utilize various goods to keep themselves entertained, comfortable and productive.
In fact, an Adobe Analytics study conducted just this week showed that U.S. online apparel sales increased by 34% year-over-year in April. The same report showed a 143% rise in pajama eCommerce sales, while online electronics purchases were up by 58% compared to this time last year.
Likewise, specific marketplaces have reported some interesting numbers. For Linnworks (in the U.K.), sales of office supplies and sports equipment were up 285% and 240% respectively this April when compared to the same time last year. eBay saw a 212% increase in cardio machine purchases during week 1 of the lockdown, a 286% jump in baking tin sales during week 2, a 1741% rise in swimming pool sales in week 3, and a 231% increase in paint purchases during week 4. Other great sellers include alcohol brewing and wine-making products, hot tubs, barbecues and plants / seeds / bulbs.
Just a few of the “new essentials” include:
- DIY / Craft Items
- Beauty & Cosmetics
- Comfortable Apparel
- Exercise Equipment
- Furniture & Home Decor
- Video Games & Electronics
- Toys & Hobby-Related Goods
- Office & At-Home School Supplies
Tips for Amazon and eBay Sellers
As giants in the eCommerce industry, Amazon and eBay have both provided specific advice to sellers on how to navigate the current pandemic terrain.
Recently, eBay put out a reminder of its listing policies. Sellers were advised that attempting to profit off of disasters through eBay is strictly prohibited, as is misusing terms such as “Coronavirus” in product listings. eBay also cautioned sellers who offer items such as face masks and hand sanitizer to ensure their listings comply with the platform’s policies.
Amazon sent a notice to sellers instructing them to cancel any orders they are now unable to fulfill. The marketplace also suggested that sellers put their businesses in “vacation status” to protect their listings from being demoted in search results.
Ways to Adapt and Thrive
For eCommerce sellers, the key to succeeding in this new environment will be adapting to the changing dynamics, keeping customers engaged and happy, and taking every precaution possible to prepare for the future.
As people shelter in place, two great ways to engage your audience are social media and ads. We are all browsing online more than usual because we’re stuck at home. More eyes on screens means more opportunity to reach potential and current customers.
eCommerce sellers should also prepare for the future. No one can be sure what that may hold as stay-at-home orders get lifted, but ensuring your communication, advertising and sales efforts are organized and efficient can go a long way toward positioning your company for success.
Finally, effective communication is critical to company management. While shipping delays and sold-out items may be outside of your control, be sure to respond quickly, honestly and in a friendly, helpful manner.