In January 2020, the first patient in the U.S. was diagnosed with COVID-19. Since then, people have drastically changed the way they work, live, and shop. As consumers have continued to socially distance themselves, they have increasingly relied on e-commerce platforms for their groceries and daily necessities. 

So, what has been the effect? 

At Verto Analytics, we uncover valuable patterns and insights about how people behave online by collecting behavioral data (including the activity of consumers across all the devices they own and regularly use: smartphones, PCs, and tablets). Analyzing that behavior through our Audience Metrics product, we are able to better understand the pandemic’s impact on e-commerce for platforms such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Kroger. This data feed leverages our passive audience measurement panel to offer market researchers a cross-device view of key performance indicators for online brands across all market segments by both age and gender.

How Has the COVID-19 Lockdown Affected Major E-commerce Platform Engagement?

Here at Verto, we leverage the concept of sessions—bursts of activity that include relevant website and app visits that are at least five minutes apart. Below, we compared the Average Sessions per Unique Visitor from January 2020 (pre-COVID-19 lockdown) through August 2020 for selected e-commerce platforms:

Read as: the proportion of total Kroger sessions coming from PC increased by 65% from January 2020 to May 2020.

From the pre-lockdown period of January 2020 to the post-lockdown period of May 2020, we observed a significant uptick in engagement per unique visitor for Amazon, Walmart, and Target. Amazon, with a 43% increase in sessions per person, saw its engagement spike more than the other analyzed e-commerce platforms.

How Has the Device Composition of E-commerce Engagement Changed During the Pandemic?

To better understand where this increase in engagement is coming from, we took a look at the change in share of sessions from pre-lockdown (January 2020) to post-lockdown (May 2020) by platform:

We observed a consistent increase on PC in share of sessions from pre-lockdown to post-lockdown. Kroger and Target both saw an increase of over 50% in PC share of sessions, resulting in 17% and 24% of all device sessions occurring on PC during post-lockdown for these respective brands. This indicates that shoppers turned to their PC devices for online shopping more often during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Would you like deeper insights about other market segments? Contact us to learn how our cross-device, single-source panel can help.

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