Fortune tellers and crystal-gazers have their work cut out. In times of relative calm, assessing and estimating events of the near-future can be free of major errors and unforeseen circumstances.
Today, however, is a different story. A story of uncertainty and heavy doses of anything-can-happen-ness. Reading the future has rarely been so complicated in recent history. And this sense of unpredictability cuts across all groups and sectors of society — from the level of a household to the global economy.
But let us narrow our focus a bit — amidst the universal angst — and check out the state of the next quarterly performance, and attempt a forecast for the following months. (We have already looked at Q1.)
As we have already covered, there are many brands and retailers that have witnessed strong ecommerce performances. Yet it’s too early to tell how losses from physical stores are going to impact longer down the road.
Data does, however, point towards a key shift in consumer behavior that crosses categories and demographics. The current conditions have appeared fertile for the growth of gardening suppliers, leisure suppliers, home improvement stores, craft stores, toys and athleisure companies.
While we’re staying home, we want and need to occupy our free time with fresh activities: try new cooking recipes, get creative with crafts, learning material for kids, and to get comfortable clothing for working at home. That’s why we’re likely to see surges in growth in these sectors.
Zooming out of these sectors, customer spending via digital channels are also likely to continue their upward trajectory — particularly as older generations, along with the other “not-so-great-with-technology” individuals, acclimatize to new norms of shopping via digital experiences.
The norm after the new norm
Each year over the holiday season there are fresh waves of new online shoppers that wash-up on the digital shore. Yet when the season is over, their exposure to digital channels of commerce sticks, and many never return to their “only-buy-in-store” mentality, meaning a greater share of the pie for ecommerce. Of course, there will always be those who decide to go back to their old ways of shopping, yet the headline is digital sales will continue to grow.
The current global pandemic is another period in which large numbers of customers are entering into more digital experiences, with many of them interacting with ecommerce for the first time. And just like the holiday season, we expect that once we get through the COVID-19 crisis — which almost all of us are desperate to do! — most of these newcomers to ecommerce will stick around in the long term.