As we all know, the global pandemic of the COVID-19 virus has greatly impacted everyone’s daily lives. The effects of the pandemic are taking its toll on every aspect of our lives, which includes consumer behavior on Amazon. The good news is that Amazon has proven to be a pillar that has managed to become an essential part of people’s lives, and its importance hasn’t diminished. It might possibly have even increased.
However, any seller can attest to changes in consumer behavior on Amazon, which are very much visible. Depending on the situation and the country of the Amazon market, these changes aren’t exactly stable. One thing is certain, though, and that is- whatever people are buying, they will be buying it on Amazon, and as long as that is true, you as a seller will be able to make money on Amazon.
Amazon has been hit in the sense that they needed to make adjustments in order to be able to operate under these current circumstances, and in order to cater to the needs of the public. This is why from approximately March 17th to April 20th, they only allowed sellers to restock items in a handful of categories deemed as “essential.”
This basically meant that unless you were selling items in these categories, you were not able to create a shipping plan. This was an unexpected change and there was no warning. This was devastating to many sellers and many went out of stock. Some were temporarily forced to switch to other Fulfilment services. This also impacted consumer behavior on Amazon, as some items stopped being available for a while. This in turn allowed competitors who had stock of the products to get a larger market share. It was basically a lucky break for them.
Overall there were, and still are, some very obvious trends that can be observed in the demand for certain products across all Amazon markets.
Online Grocery Shopping
It might be obvious that people have relied more on online shopping to avoid going outside.. People have been instructed to stay indoors as much as they can, and to only leave when necessary. When people go to the local grocery stores, especially if there are curfews in place, they tend to be quite crowded. As a result, people have started to rely on Amazon more, and have developed new online shopping habits which has affected consumer behavior on Amazon.
Now, some people are turning to online grocery shopping as an alternative.. For this reason, we can see that some items have gotten quite a sizable increase in demand. For example, take a look at the classic microwavable Kraft Mac & Cheese:
This is a very common grocery item that can be found in a majority of pantries across America. It is precisely the type of food people are looking for during the pandemic- easy to make with a decently long shelf life. We can see clear spikes in sales of this product that correspond with the start of the pandemic. The same has happened with many other items that have similar properties.
It comes as no surprise that when a disease is spreading across the globe, people are going to become more health conscious. It goes without saying that the demand for items such as surgical masks, disinfectants, and sanitizers has gone up dramatically. In general, people have started purchasing more hygiene items.
A very interesting item that has gone up in demand is the air purifier. What makes it interesting is the fact that COVID-19 is not an airborne virus. It spreads by contact between individuals. An air purifier wouldn’t do one much good in terms of reducing one’s risk of getting infected.
However, since people are in a state where they are concerned about what they come in contact with,, they apparently like to have peace of mind knowing that the air they are breathing is “cleaner.” This is a very valuable insight that shows you that certain shopping habits form in alignment with general public concerns.
Gardening and Backyard Activities
Another interesting thing to note is that people are spending more money on either gardening and/or making their backyards more enjoyable.
Anyone that’s been shut inside their home for a number of weeks is craving any form of outdoor time. It is no surprise that people who have the option to have their own little “quarantined” outdoor space are going to make the most of it. As we can see by looking at the demand and increases in sales, people have been taking up much more gardening. A good example we can look at closely with the AMZScout Pro Extension, are these gardening gloves:
A part of this trend also includes increases in demand for patio furniture, barbecue related items, landscaping items, etc…
When you think about it, if we are all stuck at home, isn’t it better to be stuck at home now rather than at some other time in the past? We are living in an era where the entertainment industry and technology are at its peak. The large number of quarantined people have turned to watching tv shows and movies, and playing video games.
In fact, video games sales are at a 10 year high. Streaming services and video game companies are enjoying a very sizable sales growth that is directly tied to the pandemic. In general, all forms of entertainment that you can do by yourself or at home, are in higher demand. Things like board games and books, as well as podcasts and audiobooks, are all being consumed in significantly higher quantities.
Home Exercise Equipment
People that are disciplined and like to stay in shape, are not simply going to stop working out due to the pandemic. If this is a regular part of your lifestyle, you need a constant presence of physical exercise in your daily life.
Gyms were one of the first businesses that needed to close their doors as the pandemic was working its way across the globe. There’s a good reason for that asgyms would be a very risky place to get infected. You are spreading your germs with any person that uses the same piece of equipment as you. Doing the courteous towel wipe is very much proper gym etiquette, but it does nothing in terms of making things more sanitary.
Needles to say, people that were forced out of gyms needed to make do with continuing their fitness routine at home. If you do regular weightlifting and strength training, nothing beats the gym- except for a very expensive, fully-equipped home gym.
This is why people needed to find the next best thing, and there was an immediate and very visible increase in sales of all types of fitness equipment on Amazon. Things like dumbells, exercise bands, platforms, benches, yoga mats, and pretty much any everyday household exercise item, started flying off the FBA shelves. The truth is that most of these items are probably just going to be put in a garage somewhere and collect dust as soon as the gyms reopen. This isn’t a trend that will likely persist.
This doesn’t mean that people are going to stop buying this type of equipment. It’s just that the new portion of shoppers that usually go to the gym will most likely return to the gyms once they reopen.
the pandemic has had major effects on the way people shop on Amazon, and undoubtedly it will have some longer lasting effects. In these circumstances people will try something new, develop new habits, and some portion of them will retain them. A lot of people are asking “how long before things go back to normal?” Things will never go back to normal.
Hopefully the COVID-19 virus will soon be dealt with and we will all look back at this as those weird, few months we were at home. The virus might eventually disappear, but its effects have already changed the trajectory of things. Even if there was no virus, Amazon as a market is constantly changing and shifting as well as consumer behavior on Amazon, and right now the changes have all been related to this one major factor. Amazon is constantly evolving and markets will always demand change.
One of the most important skills, if not the most important one an Amazon seller has to have- is their own way of keeping track of the shifts and changes in their own corner of Amazon and Amazon as a whole, and respond accordingly. Good luck, sellers!
Milos Culafic is an Amazon consultant with 3 years of experience at Amazon marketing. He is currently a contributor for AMZScout, a company that provides solutions for Amazon sellers.