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COVID-19 One Year On Blog Header1

COVID-19: One Year On

Posted May 10, 2021

Not proudly but unfortunately, it has now been a year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed millions of lives and changed ways in which each of us relates to and navigates the world.  

The same question is on everyone’s mind: How has the pandemic impacted our lives these past 12 months? Will we be able to go back to our ‘’normal life’’ or do we need to develop a “new normal” where we maintain social distancing for some time? 

As our behaviors, habits, and lives have completely changed, the changes can also be seen in different industries and accordingly in our preferences. In this period of the pandemic, we have reduced or completely removed some activities; like going to the gym, eating at restaurants, entertainment and nightlife, going to the cinema, etc. We studied from Global Web Index (GWI) to see how consumer behavior has changed one year since COVID-19 started the global pandemic that has changed all of our lives.

COVID-19 in Context

According to the recent research published by GWI, as people were coming to the terms with reality, the number of people who thought the outbreak would end within 6 months decreased each month both globally and locally, due to its endless contagious power.

The research also highlights that online shopping, exercising, eating healthy foods, and unsurprisingly playing games started to be part of our ‘’new normal’’ and was among the top adopted activities that people have continued to do. 27% of consumers said they have adopted gaming while 46% and 34% have adopted online shopping and cooking, respectively.

Our Changing Relationship with Technology

When we look at our changing relationship with technology in lockdown, the time spent on each device was affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. Nobody can deny that one of them is smartphones and the other is PCs. When we look at time spent on devices, according to GWI’s latest research, time spent on mobile increased notably in each quarter and increased 7 seconds in average daily time spent. 

Moreover, by comparing the adoption behavior and tech habits, research indicates that the adoption of technology has been accelerated by Gen X and boomers. The increased trust in technology by older consumers shows that more of them believe new technology is more beneficial to their health each quarter.

Due to the increase in online activities globally, the use of online learning platforms, creating/uploading videos, playing games, and online shopping increased accordingly by elderly consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The increase in this behavior for this age group is an essential tip for brands to take necessary actions in targeting direction.

The Consolidation of E-Commerce

The research also asked how eCommerce sites are functioning as channels of brand discovery and accessibility as the process proceeds on each stage of pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase. While shopping physically suffered from the outbreak, consumers turned to online channels where they could discover or research brands/products.

Accordingly, the increase in the usage of these channels was undeniable in each quarter. Consumers were asked which channels they used to discover brands and products and brand and product sites had a 27% share, online retail sites had 26%, and brand/product sites for research had a 36% rate during the pre-purchase stage.

On the purchasing process, especially for larger purchases, 47% of consumers state that they buy more items online which indicates impeccable reliance on online marketplaces and their user-friendly infrastructure.

When we look at the post-purchasing side especially in Latin America, Middle East, and Africa, GW’s research said that using consumer reviews for the research reached 39% in Q4 2020 globally, 42% in Latin America, and 38% in the Middle Eastern and Africa countries. During the post-purchase process, people also remained interested in brand advocacy and are more aware of reviews on their next online shopping.

Online Purchasing of Everyday Goods Has Grown

The most important thing here is that online purchasing of everyday goods has grown significantly. By the end of Q4 2020, purchases of products online reached the following rates: cleaning (21%), food/groceries (38%), personal care (34%), and clothes/shoes (29%).

Meanwhile, in Europe, 29%, in Latin America 24%, and in Middle Eastern and African countries 22% of consumers made online major purchases during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

After spending time apart while social distancing, and witnessing the devastation caused by the coronavirus crisis, many may also just miss simple social interactions. Whether it’s going for a cup of coffee, taking a stroll, and sparking up conversations with a friendly dog owner, or enjoying a meal with friends, even mundane moments of once-daily routines feel like a luxury people are already eager to have back. According to research, people are looking forward to doing the following once in their post-restriction plans: 43% of them said eating out at a restaurant, 28% of them said visiting the cinema, and 26% of them said attending music concerts. 

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