To help curb the spread of the coronavirus, businesses are closing their doors, and people are practicing “social distancing” in hopes that the combined efforts will help ensure that hospitals do not become overwhelmed by patients in need of lifesaving procedures.

The disruptions to everyday life caused by this new reality have meaningful economic consequences. 

The Brookings Institute reported that Americans are currently losing jobs “at a pace that exceeds job losses [during] the worst weeks of the Great Recession.” The total number of jobs lost, according to the Wall Street Journal, on 4/9, have surpassed 16MM. 

Similar to how this pandemic has changed the state public health, and the world economy, it appears that it has also shifted consumer buying behavior in two ways: 

  1. consumers are spending less,
  2. they’re making purchases through different channels, and
  3. they’re paying for their purchases differently than they did before the pandemic hit.

COVID-19 Is Changing How People Shop Online 

Charlie Youakim, April 12th, 2020

1. Consumers are Spending Less

2. Consumers are Shopping Less In-store and More Online

The onset of widespread concerns surrounding the coronavirus in the U.S. and Canada, which have led to work-from-home and shelter-in-place orders, have resulted in a shift away from traditional in-store shopping to eCommerce.

But the shift from brick and mortar to eCommerce hasn’t been a uniform one; shoppers are spending more on household essentials, like grocery, cleaning supplies, home improvement and health & wellness, while cutting back in other areas, like clothing, furniture and entertainment.

In a few categories, like Air travel and Lodging, the net flow of transactions has even flipped negative, representing more consumers collecting refunds for past transactions than new consumers making purchases--ouch.

After an initial surge in spending as consumers rushed to stock up on necessities before stores closed their doors, household spending is down across the board, the result of the spike in unemployment, and anxieties over what might come next.

Some categories are holding up better than others: food delivery and grocery outpace the All Spending index, but categories, like air travel and public transportation, lag far behind:

Due to rising unemployment rates, furloughs, and cut hours, there is a massive amount of consumers that are dealing with income loss due to COVID-19. Even consumers who have yet to have their income affected by this pandemic are finding themselves nervous about finances. 

Those consumers, who we’ve seen are turning away from credit, are in need of a smarter way to budget their spending.

Meanwhile, merchants are feeling the direct impact of that consumer anxiety around spending and seeing cart sizes shrinking as a direct result. To combat that trend, merchants are looking to add more flexible payment options to drive sales.

Both groups are turning to Sezzle now more than ever before.

3. Sezzle Fills a Void Left By Credit

We’re fortunate to be positioned to help both shoppers and merchants address these very issues, and so, as a result, we recently announced record-setting Q1 results that show that throughout the first quarter of 2020, our company has continued to thrive. 

Sezzle allows shoppers to split their purchase into four interest-free payments over six weeks.

When shoppers get the ability to pay over time for their orders, merchants win: they get a significant increase in average order value, conversion rate, decrease in cart abandonment rate, and gain access to more than 1,000,000 new shoppers.

The part that most merchants like best: Sezzle assumes all risk of fraud, chargebacks, and repayment.

Aside from the obvious benefits that Buy Now, Pay Later solutions can provide for merchants, they also show that merchants have their shoppers’ back. As a matter of fact, Sezzle’s mission is to Financially Empower the Next Generation.

That’s why Sezzle’s product is always 0% interest to the consumer, won’t ever negatively impact credit scores, and treats its customers like humans when late fees come into question.

Especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic, Buy Now, Pay Later solutions can offer tremendous value to shoppers as a way to budget over time.

Want to try Sezzle for your eCommerce business?

Click below and start using Sezzle now, or get in touch with us to schedule a demo!