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Apr 17, 2020
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Beauty booms but fashion lags in crisis, availability beats quality - report

Published
Apr 17, 2020

Consumer purchasing behaviour is shifting as priorities change, money gets tight, and product shortages and store closures have an impact. Sports and beauty are benefiting but clothing is lagging behind.


Consumers are changing the way they prioritise online shopping and also adjusting what they buy



That’s all according to new figures covering EMEA, North America and Asia Pacific from digital marketing business Bazaarvoice and social shopping/reviews platform Influenster. 

Bazaarvoice said it has seen particular product categories coming to the fore around the world during the social distancing and lockdown periods, based on analysis of its network of 6,200+ brands and retailers.

The pandemic prompted a major spike in online orders of sporting goods in March, which increased 86% year-on-year, as consumers sought ways to keep fit and exercise indoors.

Orders of health and beauty products also shot up with a 47% year-on-year rise. But orders of apparel and accessories fell by 8%. And while the number of page views for the health and beauty category increased by 38%, there was no change in the number of page views for fashion, suggesting that consumers were still browsing even if fewer were buying.

Meanwhile, Bazaarvoice also said key data from the Covid Shopping Survey of 3,351 Influenster members showed that 79% of members agree their shopping behaviour has changed due to the pandemic. And half feel that availability has now become the most significant purchase factor.

Some 41% are now shopping online for items they would normally buy in-store and 33% are buying more products online than they usually do. More than half are also reading more reviews online right now.

And while respondents said skincare and cosmetics are major online priorities, unfortunately, a separate survey of 3,768 respondents found environmentally-friendly products have become less of a priority. Some 68% still look for ingredient labels before buying, but 15% fewer are buying ‘clean’ beauty products for facial skincare and 19% fewer for make-up.

That’s because as many as 50% are more concerned with availability of products over clean products during the pandemic.

In fact, consumers’ priority lists now start with availability, followed by price, then quality. Before the crisis, it was quality, then price and then brand. 

So will things go back to normal post-crisis? At present, 40% said they think they will go back to normal shopping habits, while 34% say it’s too soon to tell, and 26% think they will continue with their current shopping habits.

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