eBay insights reveal shifts in shopping habits through lockdown

shopping habits

eBay have recently revealed a detailed look at how the shifts in consumer shopping habits have evolved over the course of the lockdown and illustrate the importance of fresh data to drive engagement.

Whilst many shops deemed non-essential closed their doors, online became the default way the nation shopped. Understanding consumer shopping habits during these times is important to the success of business.

courtesy of eBay is a week by week look at how the lockdown has affected shopping habits. Although we cannot yet predict the post lockdown shift the data collected shows that we cannot make assumptions on what consumers will buy, if they’ll buy, when, or who they are.

Lockdown week 1: Adjusting to change

  • Panic buying in the supermarkets and social distancing triggered a switch to buying foodstuffs online. Searches for ‘Food & drink’ on ebay.co.uk increased 473% year on year (YoY)*, while searches for ‘Cat food’ and ‘Dog food’ jumped 633% and 467% respectively.
  • And with gym memberships put on hold, eBay witnessed a huge surge in fitness fanatics creating their own gyms at home. Searches for ‘Dumbbells’ soared 1,906%, while searches for ‘Strength training & weights’ rose 1,003%.

Lockdown week 2: Finding that work/ life balance

  • After a week of adapting to considerable change, the reality that the ‘new normal’ would last for a prolonged period started to sink in. Wholesale changes in shopping behaviours illustrated the need for new remote workers to settle in to working from home and keep home-schooled kids entertained. During week 2, searches for ‘Office chairs’ and ‘Printers’ on ebay.co.uk grew 121% and 143% YoY respectively, while searches for ‘Jigsaws & puzzles’ rose 841% YoY.
  • Jogging bottoms became de rigueur as the Joe Wicks effect got the nation off the sofa and taking home workouts to a whole new level. Searches for ‘Fitness equipment & accessories’ jumped 552% YoY.
  • Finally, Brits shopped for DIY basics to ensure they had the tools they needed for their lockdown projects – searches for ‘Painting supplies’ increased 490% YoY.

Lockdown week 3: Warm weather prompts outdoor living boom

  • While the Easter holidays typically prompt people to invest in their home and garden, in 2020 a perfect storm of good weather, more free time and a lack of distractions prompted more shoppers than ever to investigate outdoor living and DIY purchases. Searches for ‘Barbecues’ and ‘Garden lighting’ rose 256% and 246% YoY respectively, while searches for ‘Fence panels’ grew 169%.
    • From landscaping to manscaping, it sadly became clear that there would be no trips to the barbers for the foreseeable future – and ebay.co.uk saw interest for home hair care rocket, with searches for ‘Hair clippers & trimmers’ shooting up 1,566%.

    Lockdown week 4: DIY and cycling reach peak

    • At the end of the first month of lockdown, Brits finally ramped up their DIY efforts with searches spiking for DIY categories. Searches for ‘Interior & exterior paint’ rose 825% YoY, and those for ‘Cordless drills’ jumped 135%.
    • Shopping in the cycling category also peaked in this fourth week as Brits looked to get a bit of ‘me-time’ – or family time – and exercise in equal measure. Searches for ‘Bikes’ and ‘Bike accessories’ grew 112% and 142% respectively, meanwhile searches for indoor exercise ‘Cycling turbo trainers’ saw a 873% boost.
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    What I would really like to know is whether this spillover demand on EBAY will actually stay engaged once shops re-open and availability of goods normalises. Has the initial surge in traffic been sustained? Any feedback welcome!

    R Kramer • 3rd June 2020 •

    For us (we sell cosmetics ingredients and crafting kits for soap, bath bombs etc), we had an almost overnight increase in sales from the 15th March until last week. The last few days have seen s light drop off. I suspect that as the lockdown is eased we will see a gradual decline, but also have a feeling that we will remain higher than before as people retain some online shopping habits through either fear of shops or a realisation that it is nice and easy for lots of things.

    Liz • 3rd June 2020 •

    Which week is eBay calling Lockdown week 1, 2 etc?

    Paul • 3rd June 2020 •

    It's "Searches" that are/were on increase by 1000%, and not Sales. How many lost sales due to simply Chinese sellers and poor customer service from such? Last week I was looking for "straw hat" for my pregnant girl on Amazon. Chinese sellers everywhere. Est delivery 5 Aug!! So I walked to local Sans and bought nice hat for half the price on Amazon.

    NorthCrystal • 3rd June 2020 •