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How COVID-19 changed online shopping behaviour in April and May

Image of a woman working at a laptop
Image of a woman working at a laptop

Shopping categories that were expected to increase in popularity during the COVID-19 lockdown like laptop and mobile phones have actually decreased, a recent survey revealed.

Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett, PriceSpy New Zealand country manager, said their recent survey showed the government restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus had changed New Zealand shopping trends.

“Surprisingly, our research found some of the shopping categories that decreased in popularity the most were categories we’d normally expect to be trending, highlighting just how much COVID-19 and lockdown levels have impacted the retail world,” she said. 

According to PriceSpy’s year-on-year click data from March 30 to June 8, 2020, there were fewer people who bought laptops during the period, a decline of 33 per cent from the same period last year.

Mobile phones’ popularity fell 32 per cent, PS4 games fell to 23 per cent, DSLR less 19 per cent and tablets decreased to 6 per cent. 

Matinvesi-Bassett said their data also showed the top five most popular products. Portable game consoles came in first, webcams at number two, bread makers came in third, stand mixers and kitchen mixers on the fourth spot and chest freezers on fifth place. 

“When you look through the wider list of top 20 trending product categories, some really unusual ones appear,” Matinvesi-Bassett said. “For example, board games, Lego, vacuum cleaners, espresso machines and hair trimmers and clippers are prime examples of how shopping trends have changed because of COVID-19 and more people staying in.”

Matinvesi-Bassett said even as New Zealand dropped into Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 2, consumers have continued to click on the ‘do it yourself’ product categories, such as hair trimmers and clippers and coffee machines, indicating not everyone might be ready to get back to living life normally just yet.

Portable game consoles’ popularity rose 1756 per cent compared to the previous year, webcams increased 1015 per cent, bread makers is 486 per cent higher compared to the previous corresponding period.

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