Shopping in stores has declined further while digital shopping is on the rise – every fifth consumer has already tried grocery shopping online during the coronavirus crisis
As the coronavirus crisis continues, even more consumers have cut down shopping in stores. This is reflected particularly clearly in specialty goods stores, department stores and shopping centres in the capital region. At the same time, the number of digital shoppers has grown briskly in a matter of weeks. Especially families with children shop more online, but also the oldest age groups do more digital shopping than before. Direct targeted support measures are urgently needed to help companies currently struggling with problems caused by the coronavirus crisis survive during the worst period.
During the coronavirus outbreak this spring, the Finnish Commerce Federation will conduct a three-part series of consumer surveys to chart the situational picture. The newly completed second survey in the series shows thatshopping in stores has declined further over the past three weeks as the number of consumers visiting shops less frequently has increased by three percentage points to 63 per cent of the Finnish population. The trend is particularly clear in the capital region, where as many as 72 per cent of consumers have cut down shopping in department stores, shopping centres and specialty goods stores.
Families with children shop more online
Three weeks ago, as the first round of the survey series was conducted, one third of consumers had not shopped online during the coronavirus epidemic, that is, from 16 March onwards. This share has now fallen to a quarter, while the number of people doing more digital shopping has more than doubled, to approximately one fifth of the Finnish population. Particularly families with children have increased the share of digital shopping from the previous situation. Now, as many as 30 per cent of families with children shop more online than before the coronavirus crisis, while three weeks ago, the share was 13 per cent.
The rising trend of online shopping continues further. Especially consumers under 50 years of age intend to do more digital shopping as the coronavirus crisis continues, but it is clear that older age groups have also developed a taste for online shopping. Almost one quarter of consumers aged 65 or more intend to do more digital shopping, while the corresponding share just three weeks ago was 18 per cent.
“The coronavirus epidemic has clearly been an icebreaker for older age groups to try online shopping, and the share is growing in leaps and bounds. The longer the crisis lasts, the more permanent the trend will be,” predicts Jaana Kurjenoja, Chief Economist of the Finnish Commerce Federation.
Commerce has succeeded in meeting the demand for groceries in online stores
Before the coronavirus crisis, the number of regular online grocery shoppers was very low, only about four per cent of Finnish consumers. During the coronavirus crisis alone, more than one fifth of consumers have already bought groceries from online stores, and more consumers want to do so more often, or at least try. This has posed a major challenge for daily consumer goods trade.
“The number of regular online grocery shoppers has more than doubled during the coronavirus epidemic, while the number of consumers who are trying it is rising as well. This has put to the test not only stores’ service ability but also their capacity to rapidly adapt operations to new customer requirements,” says Kurjenoja, describing the situation.
“Apparently, stores have succeeded well in tackling this service challenge, as the majority of customers having bought groceries online say that the purchasing process went well,” Kurjenoja continues.
Families with children have also been avid online grocery shoppers. More than a quarter of families with children have bought groceries online during the coronavirus epidemic, and the majority has been satisfied with the shopping experience. The share of families with children intending to continue online grocery shopping more often is above the average.
Direct support urgently needed
Even though e-commerce of groceries is doing well, many specialty goods stores are still in big trouble. The coronavirus crisis has caused an almost total loss of customers, while rents, wages and other fixed costs must still be paid and there is no demand for seasonal products. The Finnish Government has made important decisions on support for companies as the coronavirus crisis continues, but more is needed.
“We are still calling for targeted support for commerce sector companies which are viable but have been driven into crisis due to the restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus. For companies in this sector, the best rapid forms of support include crisis aid targeted at fixed costs, such as rent and wages,” says Mari Kiviniemi, Managing Director of the Finnish Commerce Federation.
According to Kiviniemi, it is important to look ahead as well. “The controlled lifting of restrictions in society and the rapid but safe start of the economy as soon as possible is the best way to support Finnish businesses,” she summarises.
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
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 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 the age group 18–79 in Finland (excluding the Åland Islands). The first part of the survey was conducted in the week starting 6 April, and the size of the sample was 2,000. The second part of the survey was conducted in the week starting 27 April with a sample of 1,000. The survey will be carried out three times during the spring and early summer.
See the Finnish Commerce Federation’s bulletin released on 20 April and the first part of the consumer survey conducted in the week starting 6 April:
Consumer survey: Digital shopping and willingness to try online grocery shopping on the rise