Pandemic Pushes Digital Wallet Adoption, Online Shopping Higher

Pandemic Pushes Digital Wallet Adoption, Online Shopping Higher

August 6, 2020

Global digital wallet adoption has taken off as 88 percent of shoppers across eight countries surveyed reported using the technology, according to new research from Blackhawk Network. The payment firm’s How People Pay report also found  55 percent of U.S. shoppers are using a digital wallet. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, less than 38 percent of Americans surveyed said they were using digital wallets to make purchases more or as often as the year before, according to the survey.

"Over the last few months, we've witnessed a rapid shift to digital when it comes to both consumer demand and the need for retailers to adapt to meet customers where and how they are shopping," said Theresa McEndree, vice president of marketing at Blackhawk Network, in a statement on the survey.

Based on responses from more than 12,000 consumers from eight countries around the world, the data also found when paying, online or in-store, top shopper priorities are:

  • Security (94 percent) 
  • Safety (94 percent) 
  • Reliability (93 percent)
  • Ease-of-use (93 percent) 
  • No fees (93 percent) 

The study also finds more than half (53 percent) of those surveyed report shopping more frequently online than they do in-store, and regularly shop from mobile devices. Four out of ten shoppers surveyed are using their mobile phones and/or a mobile app to shop online. Compared to last year, 39 percent report having made more online purchases this year, with just 27 percent reporting they’ve made more in-store purchases. Fewer than two in ten shoppers surveyed report cutting down on either type of purchase. 

Covid drives more app, online purchases

Blackhawk also uncovered a growing interest in retail apps with 61 percent of shoppers noting they currently make purchases within retailer apps. In the U.S., before the pandemic, just 21 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed were making purchases in retailer apps more often than last year. After the first phase of the Covid crisis, nearly half of Americans surveyed are doing so more often, and the number of Americans surveyed who had never used a retailer's app fell sharply from 32 percent to just 13 percent, said Blackhawk researchers.

"Over the last few months, we've witnessed a rapid shift to digital when it comes to both consumer demand and the need for retailers to adapt to meet customers where and how they are shopping"

While 55 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed said they feel safe shopping at physical retail locations, 44 percent said it was unlikely they will return to their normal shopping behavior even as stores start to reopen.

In the U.S., 78 percent of surveyed consumers expect permanent changes to shopping experiences as a result of Covid-19. The sentiment is similar in the U.K. with 75 percent of consumers expecting permanent change. 

In both the U.S. and the U.K., three in five surveyed consumers report that masks, gloves and other safety measures make them more likely to shop online than in-store.  Nearly 70 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed are now more likely to shop online with retailers that offer curbside pick-up options.

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Joan Goodchild

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