Study on purchasing behaviour during Coronavirus #1

With the recession in mind: discounts and promotions in particular demand since Coronavirus outbreak.

8 April 2020

People are increasingly looking for branch information and promotions during the Coronavirus pandemic. Interest in food brochures has increased massively since the outbreak of the crisis, as an analysis of users of Profital shows. Demand is currently high for clothes, books, games and electrical appliances, while new furniture and furnishings are being overlooked - even though many people are currently spending more time at home than usual. The analysis also shows: those in Romandy and Ticino in particular are currently buying more toilet paper than usual.

                Woman wearing mask in supermarket

How has purchasing behaviour changed during the Coronavirus crisis? To find out, we surveyed around 4,625 people throughout Switzerland. In general, it can be said that: the demand for purchasing information has increased significantly due to the current situation. So much so that since mid-March, the number of downloads of the Profital app and the number of hits on the website have doubled. More than ever before, users find out about current promotions and offers online and search for information from shops or online shops that are still open. In March, this search behaviour was similar to that in the run-up to Christmas and the week around Black Friday. Food offers are particularly popular: during the Coronavirus crisis, 30% more food brochures are read each week than they were previously.

Fighting Coronavirus boredom: books, games and electronics are in demand

When users are asked if they now prefer online shopping because of the current situation, the vast majority reject the idea - a total of 75% deny it. But when people shop online, it is primarily food that is in demand, as well as clothes, books, games and electrical appliances. Older people in particular are almost twice as likely to buy groceries from online shops than their younger counterparts. This can probably be attributed to the fact that older people follow the instructions of the Federal Council and thus want to avoid as many interactions as possible. Currently, furniture and furnishings are less in demand: 72% of the people surveyed can do without them at the moment - despite being locked down in their own homes. Sporting goods also belong to the product category which is not difficult to forego during the Coronavirus crisis. “Furniture is one of those products that many shoppers still prefer to look at and test in-store rather than ordering directly online - this has apparently not changed during the Coronavirus period. To cope with boredom at home, people are more likely to buy books, games and electronics instead of furnishing their homes with new furniture”, says Raphael Thommen, Managing Director of Profital, about the analyses.

Those from Western Switzerland and Ticino buy more toilet paper than German-speaking Swiss

Around 91% of all respondents said they did not go shopping more often. As a rule, people shop once a week (54%) and prefer to pay without cash. Only a third of all respondents currently use cash. What ends up in the shopping basket in addition to food is well known: toilet paper and cleaning and disinfecting products. 16% of all respondents said they frequently buy toilet paper. What is intriguing about this: this is done significantly more in Romandy and Ticino - 23% compared to 12% in German-speaking Switzerland. When it comes to disinfectants, there are differences between urban and rural areas: while around 31% of respondents in the city buy more cleaning and disinfecting products, only 22% in the countryside do so.

About the survey

During the period from 31 March to 2 April, 4,625 users of the Profital app were surveyed throughout Switzerland, of which 3,075 were in German-speaking Switzerland, 1,007 in Western Switzerland and 542 in Ticino. The survey was supplemented with a quantitative evaluation of user behaviour since 2 March compared to previous months.

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