Here are snippets from Profitero’s recent press coverage. See how our eCommerce analytics and expertise are helping brands spot the biggest trends happening across the digital landscape.
A year later: How COVID-19 changed shopping behavior
Excerpted from Forbes, and written by Sarah Hofstetter, President of Profitero
The “Quarantined Consumer” from last March isn’t exhibiting the same shopping habits as they are today. Some behaviors faded quickly, while others are now ingrained into consumers’ daily lives or still taking shape as the reality of a multi-year path back to pre-pandemic times sets in. [...] While searches on Amazon for things like “bleach” and “cold and flu medicine” surged 93x and 193x last March, according to Profitero, they plummeted just weeks later once consumers had more clarity around what actually helped curb the spread. [...] Search rank for “hand sanitizer” and “disinfectant” soared when quarantine started and both are still more popular than before the pandemic, still up 6136% and 7139% respectively. And masks? The recent changes to mask mandates at the state level haven’t dethroned their popularity, “face mask” was still the #1 term searched in Feb 2021.
Baking remains a popular hobby—as consumers also continue to seek out comfort food. Searches for “yeast for baking” are up 8,462%, while searches for “mac and cheese” are up 476%. Profitero expects to see the trend toward home cooking remain. [...] The “fitness freakout,” as Profitero calls it, has faded. The search term “sweatpants for women” on Amazon is still up 821%. In addition, searches for “bed desk” and “stress balls” are up 24 times over January 2020. [...] Panic buying staples like toilet paper seems to be behind us, however. In March 2020, searches for “bleach” were up 9,291%. Three months later, traffic had dropped to just two times. Similarly, the term “cold and flu medicine for adults” increased 193 times in the early days of the pandemic, but Profitero said it “hasn’t reached anywhere close since.”
Some of the trends consumers adopted during the pandemic are here to stay, like buying food and beverages via ecommerce. “It takes a certain period of time to begin a habit,” says Sarah Hofstetter, president of e-commerce analytics firm Profitero. “And once you begin a habit it’s easier to move into more of a routine.” Hofstetter says her parents embraced online grocery shopping and says such shifts can be as surprising as they are fast. “If you told me a year ago my mother would be on Instacart and my dad is on Amazon Prime Fresh, I would say you’ve gotta be effing kidding me,” she says.
“You look on any job boards, you will see that there are a lot of open jobs in e-commerce right now,” says Sarah Hofstetter, president of Profitero, a performance analytics platform. “It’s definitely something becoming increasingly more important to brands.” Brands are capitalizing on this growth, inventing new positions around categories like packaging and delivery. Ecommerce innovation around price pack architecture—such as how certain sized packages may sell better in stores versus online—is a big area of focus for companies right now, according to Hofstetter. Companies are also looking into how they can package items for home delivery in the most efficient, and profitable, way, she says. “That all becomes very interesting when you think about the weight of product and what’s getting shipped and what’s getting picked up in store."
[On the shopping experience] Experts say e-commerce needs to create more of an experience, especially to compete with brick-and-mortar stores. Part of that experience is the ability to browse. “What if you don’t know what you want? In a real store, you might wander through the aisles. In e-commerce, there’s often very little inspiration right now,” Profitero President Sarah Hofstetter says. “E-commerce hasn’t been built for that; it’s one of those things that’s a trade-off. It can be improved.”
[On advertising online] Hofstetter says there are untapped opportunities on the websites of brick-and-mortar retailers as well. “There’s a lot of upside for brands. Advertising when done well can really enhance the shopper’s experience,” she says—for instance, when a brand offers discounts or product information, or sponsors the cost of delivery or shipping in return for multi-item purchases.