New data shows that, while online traffic and sales are falling for many non-essential goods, conversions rates are up. Plus, 45% of consumers say online shopping will be a necessity for them to live their daily lives during the coronavirus crisis.

As the coronavirus spreads, many shoppers moderate their discretionary spending, uncertain about the future of their jobs and the economy. However, there is a silver lining. New data from vendor Namogoo shows that while online traffic and sales are falling for many non-essential online retailers, conversion rates are up.

Namogoo says while total site visits to its fashion e-retailer client sites are down 18% and sales are down 57% from Feb. 23 to March 31 compared with 30 days earlier, conversion rates have increased by 21%. The data is based on Namogoo’s data from more than 200 retailers and brands. It also finds health and beauty sales are down 5.02% but conversion rates have increased by 21%. Namogoo provides technology that prevents unauthorized ads from diverting website visitors to other websites.

“This data shows that consumers who are visiting sites are shopping with a purpose and are completing purchases,” Namogoo says. “During this uncertain time, brands must ensure customer retention and conversion.”

Meanwhile, it seems some consumers stuck in their homes have decided to spiffy up their living quarters. Home furnishings online sales are up 19.4%, with conversion rates up 10.4%, according to Namogoo.

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Additionally, ecommerce security and fraud prevention vendor Signifyd just announced a weekly pulse report on the rapidly changing online retail industry during the coronavirus pandemic. For March 17-23, the most recent data released, online sales of leisure and outdoor equipment increased 38% from the previous week, the leading category in terms of week-over-week sales growth, Signifyd says. The sales in that category which includes exercise equipment, games, hobby-related items and outdoor furniture, may reflect consumers wanting to make staying at home more stimulating and more comfortable, Signifyd says. Other top categories by sales growth that week were home goods and decor, where sales increased 15%

Meanwhile, some previously hot categories are stabilizing. For example, grocery sales were up 110% week over week for the week of March 10, and the category that includes gold bars, commodities and collectibles, shot up 123% that week. The numbers signaled that consumers were craving security and the ability to protect what is important, Signifyd says. However, data for the week ending March 23 showed grocery sales down 19% week over week while gold’s growth slowed, with commodities and collectibles sales rising 31%.

Additionally, sales of baby goods fell 38% week over week for the week of March 23, after surging 123% the week of March 10 when many employers began sending workers home indefinitely and rumors of stay-at-home orders began to circulate. Plus, the sale of those often elusive packaged goods dropped 21% week over week for the week of March 23 after soaring 160% the week of March 10.

Other research regarding consumers’ online shopping habits finds that 94% of shoppers say online shopping will be essential during the coronavirus crisis.

The research, conducted by consultancy Retail Systems Research and web acceleration and optimization software Yottaa, is based on a survey of nearly 1,200 U.S. adults at the end of March.

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The survey finds:

  • 90% of shoppers are hesitant to shop in stores due to coronavirus.
  • The majority of shoppers will either not shop in stores at all or will only do so if absolutely necessary.
  • 45% say online shopping will be a necessity for them to live their daily lives during the crisis.
  • 93% say they expect to shop online either more (60%) or at the same level (33%) as they did before the outbreak.
  • The top three things respondents feel will make shopping online more difficult during the crisis are unavailable inventory, no free shipping options and slow websites.

Additionally, consumers seem to have concerns about online retail giant Amazon’s ability to deliver orders quickly. Less than half (42%) of respondents felt confident that Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the 2019 Digital Commerce 360 Top 500, could get their online orders delivered on time. Consumers also expect to double their use of online food delivery services such as Grubhub, Uber Eats, Instacart and Peapod because of the coronavirus.

The findings support the online traffic trends of many of the 1,500 ecommerce sites using Yottaa’s services. Since the coronavirus outbreak began, many of Yottaa’s e-retail clients have experienced more than 100% growth in online shoppers, with one site experiencing a 500% uptick in traffic.

“The results of our consumer survey clearly indicate that even at a time when the vast majority of U.S. inhabitants are not infected with coronavirus, their sense of responsibility to stop the unwitting spread of the disease is keeping them at home—causing their shopping behaviors to be drastically affected,” says Steve Rowen, managing partner, Retail Systems Research. “With most experts predicting the effects of this outbreak to continue for several months, it can clearly be expected that the online shopping trends exposed in this research will only increase in the days and weeks to come. As a result, store-based retailers are in for a long and difficult journey.”

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