Since the Coronavirus pandemic started , there has been an increased shift towards a more digital world which prompted changes in online shopping behaviors that would have continuing effects on consumers. According to a survey by UNCTAD(United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) and Netcomm Suisse eCommerce Association, about 3,700 consumers in nine developing and developed economies stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has perpetually changed their online shopping attitudes. The survey named ‘COVID -19 AND E-commerce’. The countries include Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Switzerland, and Turkey. The survey identified that more than half of these consumers now shop regularly and rely on the internet more for news,health related data, and digital entertainment. The survey also identified that consumers in developing countries made a significant shift towards a more digital world. The Secretary-General of UNCTAD Mukhisa Kituyi stated that these changes would have a continuous effect as the world economy begins recovery. He also stated that the increase of Online shopping globally highlights the importance of ensuring all countries can utilize the opportunities offered by digitalization as the world moves from pandemic response to recovery.The survey by UNCTAD(United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) and Netcomm Suisse eCommerce Association, in collaboration with the Brazilian Network Information Center (NIC.br) and Inveon highlighted that online purchases have grown by 6 to 10 percent points across most product categories. The biggest achievers are ICT/electronics, gardening/do-it-yourself, pharmaceuticals, education, furniture/household products, and cosmetics/personal care categories. However, the survey also identified that the average online monthly spending by shoppers has reduced. Consumers in both developing and developed countries postponed larger expenses, consumers in developing countries focused more on essential products.
Alexandre Barbosa, manager of the Regional Center of Studies on the Development of Information Society (Cetic.br) at the Brazilian Network Information Center (NIC.br) stated that online behaviors have changed during the pandemic with a larger portion of online shoppers buying essential products such as food and beverages, cosmetics and medicines. The survey also identified women and people with tertiary education increased their online purchases more than others. In reference to survey responses, small businesses in China were most prepared to sell their goods online while South Africa were the least prepared.
UNCTAD also highlighted that the digital retail economy experienced the most increase in the Republic of Korea where online sales increased from where internet sales increased from around one in five transactions in 2019 to more than one in four last year. The UK also saw an increase in online transactions over the same period from 15.8 to 23.3 percent. China, on the other hand, went from (from 20.7 to 24.9 percent), the US (11 to 14 percent), Australia (6.3 to 9.4 percent), Singapore (5.9 to 11.7 percent), and Canada (3.6 to 6.2 percent). Online business to consumer sales stood at 2.9trillion in 2020.