A global look at recent shopping trends

How have shoppers’ habits changed? We explore the most recent trends in consumers’ behavior.

In recent months, one of the clearest emerging trends has been the accelerated shift to ecommerce. Over the past several months, consumers have spent more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, limiting their store visits when possible.

Naturally, those consumers quickly came to appreciate the convenience of placing orders from the comfort of their homes, one tap or click at a time. In fact, marketing leaders have observed that over 84%[1] of shoppers seem to be more open to new digital offerings introduced during the pandemic. In this article, we will explore some of the salient trends that developed between April and June, as shoppers adapted to their newly altered living conditions.


The key takeaways

  • Shoppers opted for DIY projects to improve their homes and gardens (April)
  • They rediscovered the great outdoors and planned related activities (May/June)
  • With physical shops closed, the apparel category had an online boost (April)
  • New concert announcements drove an increase in ticketing sales (June)
  • April saw a rise in sales for children’s toys and books (April)
  • Increased sales of automotive spare parts and accessories, as well as flower deliveries (April/May)

Stay homebound

As stay-at-home orders were implemented across the globe to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, millions of people found themselves confined to home. Being forced to #stayhome, consumers shifted their focus to small improvement projects both indoors and outdoors, be it a terrace, garden or windowsill. From April until June, we have seen a rise in purchases in categories like home decor and gardening that indicates a desire among consumers to improve their surroundings. Additionally, we have seen an increase in more practical purchases of cleaning products, new furniture, water filters and mattresses. Sleeping well has never been so important!

Into the wild

The arrival of Spring and nicer weather meant shoppers started rediscovering the great outdoors – planning long walks, overnight camping trips, solitary fishing sessions and other activities far away from the crowds. With gyms and indoor training facilities still closed, sales of activewear clothing and fitness accessories also rose; they continue to see high interest worldwide.

Dress up, dress down

Clothing and accessories categories slowed down considerably in the first months of lockdown, as consumers adjusted to the change in dress code — specifically from the waist up (hello video calls, you will not be missed). However, with the closure of stores across the world, and a reduced interest in formal attire, customers satisfied their desire for comfy clothes, lounge wear and Summer staples through online shopping.

At-home entertainment and education

It is no surprise that, with prolonged school closures resulting in kids of all ages spending more time at home, parents looked for novel ways to keep their children entertained and educated. In what we presume was the result of hearing yet another chorus of “Mom, I’m bored”, sales of children’s toys and books saw a substantial spike in April, before settling into the pre-pandemic average.

A look at the future

Not yet able to resume previous social activities like going to restaurants or cinemas, consumers are looking forward to planning get-togethers in the coming months. Newly announced music festivals, concerts, theatre tours and sporting events for next year have seen a substantial increase in booking, offering some relief to the entertainment industry.

So, what’s next?

Shopping trends over the past few months indicate that one of the ways consumers are reacting to current challenges is by moving to more online shopping for specific categories. As companies work hard to enhance their ecommerce experience, from improving delivery times, editing product descriptions to incorporate COVID-specific updates, or utilizing ratings and reviews across their products, it will be interesting to see whether these trends will develop further and become the new norm once restrictions lift.