According to a new report from brand protection firm Red Points, 73% of consumers will increase online shopping if the COVID-19 outbreak continues, and 58% of consumers have already bought more goods online than usual.
The report also highlighted online shoppers' quality concerns. Per the report, 68% of U.S. consumers are worried that there might be more counterfeit or poor-quality products sold online as a result of the pandemic, but 45% of respondents said they were unaware of product counterfeiting.
Among the top criteria online shoppers valued the most were: product quality (62.1%), speed of delivery (56.6%), price (53.6%) and trustworthiness (51.8%), per the report.
The Red Points report offers some insight into what consumers are seeking as the coronavirus outbreak continues. Among the top items consumers are looking to buy online instead of in-store are: cosmetics and personal care products (64.6%), food and beverage items (61.5%), household products (60%) and baby care products (46.4%).
But as stores rush to restock their empty shelves, retailers have been discouraging consumers from panic shopping. And though consumers are shifting their spending online, analysts at Wedbush and Morgan Stanley don't foresee online shopping making up for the drop in in-store purchasing. It's unclear just how much the retail sector will suffer in the long-term as a result of the pandemic.
As shopping moves online, Red Points' research brings to light the importance of combating counterfeit goods sold in e-commerce marketplaces. Per the firm's report, more than two-thirds of people between 18-24 and 35-44 were aware of knockoff goods sold online, but the rest of the respondents were nearly evenly split.
Of course, counterfeit goods have been a problem long before the coronavirus outbreak began. It's a problem that online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, have pledged to fight. Though some consumers have willingly bought fake products online, more than half of consumers who purchase counterfeit goods online lose trust in a brand, per an Incopro report.
Amazon, the dominant e-commerce player, has been able to win consumers over with affordability and shipping, and those qualities are likewise appealing during the coronavirus outbreak. As Red Points notes in its report, Amazon is hiring more workers to keep up with growing demand, but the online sales of vitamins, health products, electronics and children's toys should be watched closely for spikes in fakes.
Amazon "has also taken down thousands of price-gouging sellers," the report also notes. "That's good news, but brands still need to remain vigilant in monitoring counterfeit products."
Correction: Language was updated to describe Red Points.