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Online Shopping, Still Nesting, and More: Consumer Attitudes, Part 2

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Last week we talked about the latest Consumer Pulse survey from McKinsey & Company. Here are some additional highlights from the report.

Shoppers are spending more online and in stores: People began shopping online in droves at the start of the pandemic, when they didn’t have much of a choice. But it turns out that many people enjoy the convenience that e-commerce offers. Even when brick-and-mortar stores reopened, online spending continued to climb. Year-on-year growth in e-commerce was 27% in March 2022; the total uplift in e-commerce penetration, from the onset of COVID-19 until March 2022, was 33%.

This rise in e-commerce hasn’t made brick- and-mortar retail obsolete. Businesses should provide a seamless experience for customers in both online and offline channels. In addition, the report says, companies should differentiate the service and experience of in-person shopping, while giving consumers reasons to continue to shop online.

Omnichannel shopping is becoming the norm: 75% of consumers say they’re researching and purchasing both in-store and online. And 45% say social media influences their purchases.

Not surprisingly, social-media influence is heaviest among younger people and is most relevant in appearance-related categories such as cosmetics and sports apparel. Social commerce is still emerging, with 10% of omnichannel shoppers saying they’ve made purchases directly via social media.

Even as people go out again, their “nesting” continues: More than half of consumers have already resumed their normal out-of-home activities and another 20% are in the process of returning to their pre-pandemic routines outside the home.

And despite resuming most of their out-of-home activities, spending on home improvement and maintenance is still growing—it’s 11% higher than pre-COVID-19 projections, even after adjusting for inflation. And expectations are this nesting behavior to continue.

Consumers say they care about ESG, but it means different things to different people: When choosing what to buy, consumers—in particular, younger generations—say that their choices are at least somewhat influenced by environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. Their primary concerns is that companies are transparent and show that they care for people (employees, customers, others in their communities).

In general, younger consumers prioritize authenticity and social issues such as diversity, equity, and inclusion, while older consumers pay more attention to health and environmental issues.

Shopping stock image by Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

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