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For Many Consumers, There’s No Going Back

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We became a nation of homebodies in 2020, and that’s not likely to change any time soon. Here is a partial list of things Americans say they will continue to do from the safety of their homes, even after the pandemic is history: shop, cook and work out. Here are some things they expect to continue to do less of: shake hands, hug, go to concerts, fly in airplanes and dine at restaurants.

Morning Consult surveyed 2,094 online shoppers in September on behalf of Pitney Bowes. The efficacy of polling has come into question lately, but these findings paint a picture of a nation grown accustomed to shopping from the kitchen table or couch instead of at the mall — something most of us can relate to.

“We can all see from the changes in our own homes and workplaces just how dramatically the pandemic is impacting daily life, but I think earlier this year, many people expected to one day go back to ‘the way things were.’ This survey says, in many aspects of our lives, we’re choosing never to go back,” said Gregg Zegras, executive vice president and president of global e-commerce at Pitney Bowes. “While Pitney Bowes is particularly focused on the shipping and e-commerce space, businesses in all industries will benefit from listening to what consumers are telling us about their future plans for a post-pandemic world.”

“These trends present new opportunities and new challenges for retail and e-commerce businesses and the logistics companies who serve them.”

As for what consumers (i.e., you and me) are planning, it’s a safe assumption that e-tail will be a major part of it. According to Pitney Bowes, 73% said they have enjoyed shopping online during the pandemic more than they had expected. Meanwhile, the percentage of consumers who do more than half of their shopping online (45%) is nearly triple what it was before the pandemic.

“In the e-commerce space, people are telling us they plan to continue shopping online more than ever before,” Zegras said in a statement. “They’re also spending more time on mobile devices browsing for new brands. Both of these trends present new opportunities and new challenges for retail and e-commerce businesses and the logistics companies who serve them.”

One of the things driving the stay-at-home trend is the fear that we haven’t seen the last of face masks. More than 70% of shoppers reported they expected their communities will face another pandemic like COVID-19 in their lifetimes.

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