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Consumer Buying Preferences

COVID-19 Has Changed Consumer Buying Preferences

Anxiety about COVID-19 has shifted where and how people will shop for the holidays. 

Research from professional services firm Deloitte shows that more than half of shoppers feel anxious about in-store shopping due to the pandemic. 

Independent home improvement retailers are positioned to continue serving shoppers throughout the pandemic and beyond as they meet consumers’ needs for efficiency and safety. Providing convenient store locations, adapting to change and responding quickly to customers’ needs have never mattered more. 

Due to COVID-19, Deloitte reports 69 percent of consumers prefer stores close to home to shop in-store, but 65 percent prefer shopping online to avoid crowds.

The data shows that 48 percent of consumers prefer shopping at a store located outside of a mall. 

Demand for curbside pickup more than doubled from 2019 to 2020, according to Deloitte. And more than one-third of shoppers say they use buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) options because it’s safer than in-store shopping. 

About half of holiday shoppers say their shopping habits will return to their pre-pandemic norms when there is a vaccine, according to the research. 

In the meantime, when shopping over the holidays, most consumers plan to rely on product deliveries instead of spending as much time doing traditional in-store browsing.

The Shopping Situation

How COVID-19 has impacted holiday shopping:

  • 2x the percentage of people who prefer curbside pickup more than doubled year over year.
  • 73% of holiday shoppers plan to have products delivered.
  • Nearly one-third of holiday shoppers say their financial situations are worse than last year.
  • About 50% of shoppers plan to buy home products such as home improvement items and appliances, during the holiday season.

BOPIS vs. In-Store Shopping and Delivery

Why customers use buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) instead of shopping in stores:

  • Safer
  • Faster
  • Less Stressful

Why customers use BOPIS instead of delivery:

  • Cheaper
  • Faster

Click here to view the infographic.

About Kate Klein

Kate is profiles editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and industry events and writes about retailers' unique contributions to the independent home improvement sector. She graduated from Cedarville University in her home state of Ohio, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and minored in creative writing. She loves being an aunt, teaching writing to kids, running, reading, farm living and, as Walt Whitman says, traveling the open road, “healthy, free, the world before me.”

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