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The growth of online purchases has been especially notable in China, where 78 percent of those surveyed say they have increased their consumption online.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led consumers to shop more frequently online but their total spending has dropped. This is the main conclusion of a study carried out in nine emerging and developed economies by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) explained.
“The survey entitled 'COVID-19 and E-commerce' examined how the pandemic has changed the way consumers use e-commerce and digital solutions. It covered Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Korea, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, and Turkey,” the UNCTAD explained.
In these countries, 49 percent of the people surveyed increased their online purchases, while 58 percent used the network more for entertainment, and 51 percent as a means of information.
The growth of online purchases has been especially notable in China, where 78 percent of those surveyed say they have increased their consumption online. There were also notable increases in Turkey (65 percent), South Korea (58 percent), and Brazil (55 percent).
The increase in online purchases was slightly higher among women (51 percent) than in men (49 percent), and the age group where the growth was highest (57 percent) was that of consumers between 35 and 44 years old.
The UNCTAD survey also found that online purchases increased over 50 percent in cosmetics and personal care products, digital entertainment, food and beverages, fashion and accessories, drugs, and books.
Despite all this, spending in all economic sectors fell, especially in purchases related to tourism (-75 percent) and the acquisition of furniture and household products (-53 percent).
The apparent contradiction between the increase in consumption and the decrease in spending is explained by the fact that 62 percent of the people surveyed prefer to postpone large purchases online.
Additionally, 60 percent chose to travel within their country rather than abroad, and 40 percent said they preferred to focus on food or beverage purchases.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world. The changes we make now will have lasting effects as the world economy begins to recover,” the UNCTAD Secretary Mukhisa Kituyi said.