Attitudes towards online shopping in over 65s

By Huseyin Erbas*

Nowadays, we can buy a lot of things from the internet with just a few clicks, without moving from our couch. Food, clothing, medical, all kinds of services, entertainment, books, furniture, home, car, tickets and even doctor and nurse services are some of the things we can buy online. The rate of online shopping (e-commerce) is increasing day by day with the widespread use of the internet and the increase in the variety of products sold on the internet. For example, according to the E-barometer report published by the cooperation of Postnord, Svensk Digital Handel and HUI Research, the percentage of those who shop online at least once in Sweden is 67% in 2018, 70% in 2019 and 77% in 2020 (E-Barometern-2020 Q2, 2020). This increase in online shopping rate is similar in Turkey; while it was 23% in 2019, this ratio increased to 34.1 in the first 4 months of 2020 (Danismaz, 2020). The most important reason for this huge increase in 2020 is the COVID-19 pandemic that affects the whole world. This pandemic has changed the shopping behavior of consumers, as every part of life. More and more consumers are choosing online shopping to avoid public places such as supermarkets, shopping malls, groceries, etc. In addition, according to most consumers, online shopping is easier than physical shopping, because they do not have to spare extra time to shop. However, this “easy and safe” shopping method may not be as easy and safe for everyone. Some of the participants’ thoughts about online shopping in our interviews to learn the consumer’s changing shopping behaviors are;

“Yes, I hear about online shopping from people around me and from TV advertisements. However, I have never shopped something from the internet….. I don’t think I can do it, because the internet seems too complicated to me ….. it’s too complicated. I also see in the news that people are being defrauded on the internet. I don’t know … although the risk of getting the virus is higher, I prefer to go and shop from the market myself.’’ (Henke, 69, Lund/Sweden)

“Because of my age, the concept of “online shopping” is a little far from me. While I am just getting used to shopping with a bank card, shopping online seems very complicated to me. Also, sometimes I see it in the news, some people order a new mobile phone from an online market, but something else comes out of the package delivered to home. I’ve heard of many examples of scams like this. I mean, buying something from the internet doesn’t feel very safe to me.’’ (Mehmet, 69, Aydin/Turkey)

People over 65 years old, who are defined as the riskiest group during the pandemic, cannot benefit from online shopping very much. These people do not have skills and experience with the internet so, they approach this way of shopping with suspicion. Because people do not have much knowledge about the internet, they are afraid of doing something wrong or getting scammed. During the corona pandemic, people who are 65+ continue to prefer traditional shopping methods both in Sweden as well as in Turkey. Most of these people prefer to do their shopping at grocery stores and shops, even if it comes at the cost of their own health. However, according to the same report, the online shopping rate of people over 65 years old shows an increase of 10% compared to August of 2019 and the most important factor in this increase is that the trust problem of people in this age group is overcome in various ways (E-Barometern, 2020). Easy and secure payment methods such as Swish and Klarna, transparent and easy to use online shopping sites are just a few factors that make people less suspicious of online shopping, especially in Sweden. Assuming that the Covid-19 process will continue for a while, we can predict that the number of people 65+ years of age who shop online will increase with easy and safe shopping ways in Sweden comparing Turkey.

References

E-barometern 2020 Q2, PostNord i samarbete med Svensk Digital Handel och HUI Research. https://www.postnord.se/siteassets/pdf/rapporter/e-barometern-q2-2020.pdf

T. Danısmaz, A. (2020). Covid-19 Salgınının Tüketicilerin Online Alışveriş Tercihine Etkisi. Social Sciences Research Journal, 9 (2), 83-90.

 

*Huseyin Erbas is a Masters in Applied Cultural Analysis program student at Lund University. He currrently conducts his research with a collaboration of Square Culture for one of his courses in the program. He researches about changing shopping habits of consumers with COVID-19 and the reasons behind them in both Turkey and Sweden. To get further information about his research, please email sahra@squareculture.se.