Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has impacted our lives in several ways. The public gathering has fallen sharply. Most office workers are doing work from home. Many affected people are experiencing quarantine and staying away from family members, friends, and relatives. In this time of uncertainty, people are advised to avoid unnecessary visits to shops, markets even grocery stores. Thereby, the purchase of daily food items from the market has transformed into online electronics shopping.
Due to the lockdown of luxury and all nonessential businesses, people are doing limited shopping of essential items only. To overcome the risk of getting affected by a coronavirus, people are preferring to order online and getting things at their doorsteps. The trend of online buying of groceries and medicines has sharply raised particularly in urban areas. The contactless transactions have replaced traditional shopping behavior. However, delays in deliveries have created trouble for many customers. To resolve this problem some online platforms such as Daraz and ITDukan in Pakistan are delivering orders in a single day particularly in large cities like Lahore and Islamabad.
It has been observed that in the first month of lockdown, people only purchased online grocery items. However, over time they have started buying other items even cities are lockdown. For instance, Zong, a large telecommunication network in Pakistan reports that orders for internet devices have incredibly increased during COVID-19. Similarly, demand for electronic support items such as gaming products, computer components, and accessories has considerably increase increased. It is because people are more inclined to use the internet to perform their duties and to enjoy staying at home.
Moreover, many local grocery stores faced a scarcity of items particularly in highly populated cities such as Karachi and Lahore. This also induced many customers to purchase online. Along with the demand for food items, medicines, masks, and cleaning products reported a sharp rise. It is confirmed by Nielsen, a global data analytics company, that demand for safety masks and hygienic items has increased by about 300%. As a result, e-commerce businesses boosted to meet the demand of customers.
Paul Marsden, a psychology expert states that “Panic buying can be understood as playing to our three fundamental psychological needs.” For example, people prefer to make purchasing decisions independently, want to do something beneficial, and want to feel of making rational decisions. Besides, the pandemic has not only created uncertainty also contradictory information. Different channels are predictions and providing divergent recommendations to customers. It has made them confused. Meanwhile, the scarcity of food items in grocery stores persuaded buyers to buy more. All these factors have contributed to the expansion of online shopping around the world.
In sum, creativity and innovations have thrived in times of crisis. People are feeling danger to physical visit shopping centers because a visit to the market carries risk. We can say that COVID-19 has only transformed the way we perform our duties, communicate with others but also our attitude towards shopping. Now customers are preferring online electronics shopping because of its safety, convenience, and fear of scarcity.