Exclusive Data: Twenty-Five Percent of Consumers Say Retail, Online Grocery Digital Shift Will Stick

As sections of the United States economy continue to reopen, it is growing more apparent that consumers have no intention of reverting back to their pre-pandemic shopping habits. Instead of flocking back to brick-and-mortar shops, consumers are continuing to shop from the safety of their homes, and are actually buying more online — not less — than they were before the reopening began.

PYMNTS’ latest survey shows that 35.7 percent of U.S. consumers are now buying retail goods online as of May 23, compared to 29.2 percent who did so on April 11. The share of consumers ordering from restaurants online has also increased, reaching 21.3 percent on May 23, up from 13.3 percent on April 11.

Why are consumers hesitant to return to shopping in stores, and how are merchants meeting their persistent demand to stay at home?

These are just a few of the questions PYMNTS sets out to answer in The Great Reopening: Doubling Down Online edition. We surveyed 2,065 U.S. consumers of varied age groups and income brackets to find out how their shopping behavior continues to evolve as state economies begin to reopen. The report also examines whether their demand for touchless payments persists and what types of digital features they want merchants to provide.

Our research reveals that consumers are still primarily staying in to keep from contracting COVID-19, with 40.2 percent citing this as their reason for considering merchants’ digital commerce payments offerings when deciding where to shop. Convenience is a secondary concern, with only 21.9 percent of consumers who look for merchants with digital features saying it is because digital commerce is more convenient.

Not only are consumers wary of leaving their homes to reengage in brick-and-mortar commerce, but they also show signs of planning to shop from home long into the future. The average consumers do not expect the pandemic to end until February 2021, and 43.3 percent of the adult population does not expect their lives to return to the way they were for at least another year. Ten percent do not believe their lives will ever go back to how they were before. This strongly suggests that the recent uptick we have seen in their propensity to shop and pay online will continue for the foreseeable future.

So, what types of digital features are consumers relying on to make purchases and obtain their retail products and essentials as they hunker down at home and let the pandemic run its course? The Great Reopening: Doubling Down Online edition explores the answer to these questions and many more.

To learn more about how consumers’ online behavior is shifting as the economy reopens, download the report.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.