According to Derek Cikes, COO at payment fintech, Payflex, before lockdown became a reality people were buying all kinds of health-related, immune-boosting products like vitamins. Once lockdown became reality, people started panicking which lead to stockpiling which led to big brands like Checkers and Pick ’n Pay implementing rationing to ensure that all South Africans were able to get what they need. “The increase in grocery demand saw other online grocery apps such as Onecart seeing an unprecedented increase in users,” he says. Where they were usually able to deliver within an hour, they now had a two to three-day delivery time pre-lockdown. Cikes says that according to Ventureburn, Onecart has reported a 300% leap in order volumes since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak which goes to show that there has been an enormous shift when it comes to people shopping online. He is also convinced that the shift in shopping to the online environment will persist after lockdown.
According to him the sales of non-grocery items decreased with 20% but he predicts that it will soon bounce back. “As lockdown continues, we anticipate seeing the so-called Lipstick Effect – a phenomenon noticed by Leonard Lauder, Chairman of Estee Lauder, that in times of economic crisis and uncertainty, there’s an increase in lipstick sales and other small luxury items,” he says. He also says that the shopping habits that are here to stay include people being more inclined to stock up on non-perishable goods and a paradigm shift in online buying. “We expect to see this change dramatically and rapidly, with online being viewed as the safer means of acquiring goods.”
David Jenkins, founding partner at Mickey Llew (a specialist performance marketing and SEO agency) says digital is now a necessity, not a choice. Once lockdown is relaxed, people will want to buy things that make staying at home more comfortable. He also says that search is still the digital driving force with searches like “corona virus”, “Dischem near me” and “pharmacy near me” spiking since COVID-19 hit our shores.
COVID-19 has definitely changed life as we knew it and whether we like it or not, many of these changes are probably here to stay. Businesses now need to find ways to adapt to this new lifestyle and tap into the opportunities it presents.
We see this as an opportunity to delve deep, identify new ways of doing business and start fresh. How about you, HP?