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For Part 3 in our COVID-19 consumer behavior update, we continue to compare online traffic, conversions, and transactions—for pre-pandemic (prior to March), March–July, and now July–September.

Since July, even more brick and mortar stores have begun to re-open for in-person shopping.

Leveraging data from the PebblePost Graph, our proprietary data asset, we compare consumer behavior from July–September to the statistics we reported earlier this year to examine shopping trends as we head into the holiday season. 

General Overview 

Most categories continue to see similar traffic patterns and online conversions with no noticeable increases from a few months ago, and patterns are nearing pre-pandemic levels, or in some cases, higher! 

As expected, categories that were most impacted by shelter-in-place are increasing at higher rates now that in-store shopping has largely re-opened. Below, we breakdown some of the most popular categories: 

The Biggest Winner: eCommerce/DTC Health, Wellness, and Medical

It’s a great time to be an eCommerce/ DTC Health, Wellness, and Medical brand. In July–September, we saw an average of 180% increase in online consumer behavior (traffic and online transactions) compared to pre-pandemic, which is an 80% increase from earlier this year.

Apparel Continues to be a Mixed Bag

Athleisure and comfy basics were doing very well during shelter-in-place and the increase in intent has remained steady. Activity continues to be highly variant across the category, and traffic and conversions are mostly the same or higher than pre-pandemic levels.

These Boots Were Made for Walking

The shoe vertical saw a 27% increase July–Sept than it did pre-pandemic, up from a 12% decrease during shelter-in-place times. This trend is in line with the loosening of guidelines across the states, and consumers heading outdoors in the warm summer months. 

Consumers Are Dressing Up Their WFH Headshots

Jewelry remains constant with a 30–35% increase in consumer behavior compared to pre-pandemic times. We saw an initial spike in March, and it continues to hold steady with both an increase in traffic and conversions. 

At-Home Workouts: The New Normal?

In the Fitness and Sporting Goods category, we see at-home fitness still BOOMING with a 200% increase since pre-pandemic. With Gyms slowly re-opening across the country, and most with capacity limits, consumers’ comfort levels are still variable state to state. With so many great at-home options, many are realizing at-home workouts can be just as effective, and easier to maintain -without the worries of social distancing.

The Home Makeovers Continue

The Home Goods and Furniture category continues to endure with a 95% increase in online transactions compared to the pre-pandemic times. It will be interesting to see how this trend continues into the cooler months when people will be outside less frequently—will there be a further increase in activity? 

Food and Beverage Hold Steady

The Food and Beverage category did very well during shelter-in-place and still remains higher in online behavior than the pre-pandemic. There were 14% more transactions in July–September compared to pre-pandemic, down from 50-80% increases during shelter-in-place. This is expected as food scarcity in grocery stores isn’t as big of an issue, restaurants across the country are open for outdoor dining (and many indoor as well), offering consumers more options.

The Travel Industry Starts to Recover

The Travel, Tourism, and Hospitality categories haven't fully recovered yet, but we’re seeing online activity start to inch closer to pre-pandemic levels, which is a positive trend that we hope continues to increase. Similarly, the Financial Services and Insurance category is teetering back to pre-pandemic levels. 

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