According to the Finnish Commerce Federation’s newly released consumer survey, shopping in stores has decreased dramatically. People in Finland have taken the authorities’ recommendations seriously and 60 per cent of consumers have cut down all shopping in stores. Women in particular have followed the instructions conscientiously, with up to two-thirds of them going to shops less frequently.
“This is excellent in terms of stopping the spread of the virus. However, regrettably, it is reflected in the sales figures in specialty goods trade. These are the shops suffering the most from less shopping by women under 50 years of age,” says Jaana Kurjenoja, Chief Economist, Finnish Commerce Federation.
Women aged over 65 have reduced their number of visits to grocery stores the most, as they shop in specialty goods stores less frequently than younger women in any case.
Even though the number of shop visits has decreased, digital shopping is on the rise.
Digital shopping will increase as the coronavirus crisis continues
The growth in the number of online shoppers has not exploded just yet as the majority of consumers under 50 years of age are already familiar with digital shopping. However, men aged 25–49, who already shop frequently online, have started to buy even more on the web. Among families with children, the increase in online shopping is above average as well.
More than one-fifth of consumers intend to shop more online as the coronavirus crisis carries on. The increase will be particularly notable among men under the age of 35, of whom almost one-third intend to do more digital shopping. However, millennials are not the only group online stores should now focus on: every fifth woman aged 65–79 wants to try online shopping, and do more of it.
“Hopefully, Finnish online stores are also designed to cater for older customers as the current crisis may make even them buy more online. For domestic commerce, this is a great opportunity as women over 50 already favour domestic shops anyway,” says Kurjenoja emphatically.
Women under 50 years of age are those who are most intent on starting to use domestic online stores more after the coronavirus crisis is over. Men are more price-driven than women, but over one-fifth of them, too, intend to favour domestic online stores in the future, while the corresponding share of women is one-third.
People want to try online grocery shopping
Few people are regular users of online grocery stores, and most users live in the Helsinki region. However, more than every fifth consumer is now willing to try buying groceries online, and to do it more frequently, whereas 55 per cent have no such intentions. The willingness to buy more online is highest in the Helsinki region and Uusimaa. Customers under 35 years of age are particularly ready to do this.
Consumers’ willingness and need to try online grocery shopping is also evident in the results of the Finnish Commerce Federation’s member survey conducted a couple of weeks ago. More than 70 per cent of grocery shops using a digital sales channel reported an increase in online purchases.
“Even though the utilisation rates of online grocery stores will decline after the coronavirus crisis, there is no going back to the way things were before. In the largest cities and towns in particular, online grocery shopping will become permanently more common,” says Kurjenoja.
Commerce sector companies need direct support
In the Finnish Commerce Federation’s consumer survey, almost one quarter of employees report having been laid off or dismissed due to the coronavirus crisis, or that co-operation negotiations are ongoing at their workplace about such measures. For more than 50 per cent, the epidemic has not yet had any impact on employment.
“Such a high volume of layoffs and dismissals will inevitably affect consumer behaviour and make people save for a rainy day, thus aggravating the crisis. This is another reason to target support to companies better and more effectively,” says Mari Kiviniemi, Managing Director of the Finnish Commerce Federation.
In the member survey published by the Finnish Commerce Federation two weeks ago, almost two-thirds of employer companies stated that the support measures decided on by the Government so far have not helped alleviate the difficulties of companies caused mainly by declining demand.
The Government has already made decisions on increasing funding for businesses. However, according to the Federation, more direct support is needed. Everyone in Finland can contribute to the success of domestic commerce by centralising purchases in Finnish online stores.
“Based on the results of our survey, 27 per cent of respondents intend to favour domestic online stores more in future. This is a move in the right direction,” says Kiviniemi.
For further information, please contact:
Jaana Kurjenoja, Chief Economist, Finnish Commerce Federation, tel. +358 (0)40 820 5378, jaana.kurjenoja(at)kauppa.fi
Mari Kiviniemi, Managing Director, Finnish Commerce Federation, tel. +358 (0)50 511 3189 mari.kiviniemi(at)kauppa.fi
Read the Finnish Commerce Federation’s bulletin published on 7 April 2020:
Survey: More than a quarter of stores report an almost total slump in turnover – a 25% reduction in employee numbers
Jaana Kurjenoja, Chief Economist of the Finnish Commerce Federation, is in charge of research design and the design of the consumer survey questionnaire form, and she is responsible analysing the results as well. Kantar TNS planned the sample and collected the consumer data through an online panel. The sample describes Internet users in Finland. The survey was targeted at a total of 2,000 Internet users in Finland (not including Åland Islands), aged 18−79, and the sample corresponds to the population structure. The survey was carried out in the period 6–11 April 2020. The survey will be carried out three times during the spring and early summer. In the next rounds, the sample will be 1,000.