COVID-19 Online Business Trends

Which trends are here to stay?

COVID-19 changed the way consumers consume and retailers retail in 2020, but what are some of the key business trends influenced by COVID-19 and will they continue post-pandemic? Let us explore.

Online Grocery Sales

Despite the conditions, successful retailers found their way deeper into eCommerce to fill the demand generated by the pandemic. Online grocery shopping is one of them; it was a multi-billion-dollar industry within the United States before the pandemic and has been increasing month-by-month. Online grocery retailers accumulated a total of $7.2 billion worth of online grocery sales for pickup or delivery in June 2020. This was up from $6.6 billion in May, $5.3 billion in April, and $4 billion in March. That’s an 80% increase in online grocery sales from March to June!

Retailers such as: Aldi, Costco, Hy-Vee, Kroger, Target, Wal-Mart, among others, shifted resources to online order pickup, drive-up services, and improved 1 or 2 day shipping availability. While consumers remained home, wary of COVID-19, online grocery retailers came to their rescue. Will this business trend continue post-pandemic? Yes, but not at current levels. The digital transformation of businesses shifting their products and services online has been at the forefront for many years. It is evident when you walk an empty shopping center that brick-and-mortar storefronts are in decline and online retail through eCommerce has increased. The convenience of grocery pick-up, drive-up service, and delivery will be too much for many to give up after COVID-19.

Restaurant Delivery Services

As consumers flocked to online grocery retailers for their necessities, so too did they flock to their local restaurants to shop and support local. With social distancing as the new norm, local restaurants adjusted on the fly and moved online by leveraging DoorDash, GrubHub, and Uber Eats to deliver their food to consumers. While the delivery of food to consumers is not a new concept, third-party services now take home most of the market share. “Among new DoorDash users in March and April, more than 70% returned to the platform for a second purchase.”  Will this business trend continue post-pandemic? Yes. The convenience of food delivery paired with the continued expansion of third-party delivery services will continue to shift consumer’s habits after COVID-19. We live in a society where instant gratification is prevalent, so it is inevitable that this trend of food-by-the-click will continue to grow.

Remote Work Availability

Shifting gears to something that hits even closer to home, how many of your employers offered remote work due to COVID-19? If your employer did, you are not alone. Historically, remote work was limited to a select few occupations, but COVID-19 has upended those limitations. From entry-level to c-suite, employers of all shapes and sizes are now allowing their employees to work remotely at higher levels than ever seen.

Large technology companies such as: Facebook, Square, and Twitter are allowing their employees to work remotely through the remainder of the year or longer. Rani Molla with Vox.com states: “As this shift continues, technology plays an increasingly important role now that more knowledge workers have familiarized themselves with its benefits.”  Will this business trend continue post-pandemic? Unequivocally, yes. There are pros on both sides that greatly outweigh the cons. To name a few: better work-home life balance, elimination of commute time, no restrictions on talent pool, and less physical office space. A recent survey concluded that 72% of office workers would like to work remotely at least two days a week. As we return to post-pandemic “normal”, remote work will be a part of it.

From the way we shop for groceries to the places we work; everyone has felt the effects of businesses shifting online. Not by choice; however, simply a change driven by necessity. Some business trends will relinquish with the post-pandemic “normal” and others will grow, but it is safe to say that COVID-19 has changed the way consumers consume and the way retailers retail.

 

By Jake Allen with J. Allen Consulting

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