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Covid-19 poll daily insights

April 10, 2020

  • Almost half of respondents are buying at least some of their purchases from online retailers they had never shopped at before.
  • Product availability and free shipping are top priorities when choosing where to shop.
  • About 10 percent of respondents say they are still not shopping online.


Some shoppers are turning to new retailers. Forty-six percent of respondents who shop online say they are doing at least some of their shopping at online retailers they have not shopped with before. Fifty-four percent say they are only shopping online at places they have shopped before.

percent of online shoppers buying from new retailers 4-10

Shoppers rank availability and free shipping as top priorities. Seventy percent of shoppers say product availability and free shipping are among the top factors influencing where they choose to shop online. As many online retailers have begun to sell out of popular products, some shoppers turn to lesser-known retailers in hopes of finding products that are still in stock.

On the other hand, shopping at well-known brands was not a top priority for most respondents: Only 17 percent say it’s an important factor in their decision.

Not everyone is on the ecommerce bandwagon. About 10 percent of respondents say they are not shopping online. However, about half of these respondents say they have shopped online at some point previously, but are not doing it now. These respondents were from both states that are under stay-at-home orders and those that are not.

percent of respondents shopping online

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Consumer sentiment

What are people buying and why?

Last week, the CDC updated their stance to recommend that everyone wear masks or face coverings as a safety measure. While traditional medical-grade face masks are in short supply and have been sold out at most retailers for weeks, more brands are starting to sell cloth masks and other alternatives. Since the CDC made this announcement, twice as many people have told us they plan to buy masks. As one person said, “I think masks will be mandatory soon in my area and [I] need extras.”

Some day-to-day essentials continue to sell steadily. For example, parents still need child care products at the same rate as always. Some respondents mentioned plans to buy formula, baby rockers, and kids’ clothes in the near future. One parent mentioned plans to purchase diapers, wipes, and pail liners, explaining “My son needs these things, they are his essentials.”

People are also making plans for their stimulus checks. Several people mentioned plans to use their checks for big-ticket purchases that they’d already been planning on making. As one respondent said, they’re planning to spend their check “because the government is giving me $1200 to throw back into the economy and I’ve needed a couch for a while.”

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