Retail Trends: Self-Isolation Consumer Behavior (Study)

In June 2020 Yandex published research in which analysts investigated what and how Russians purchased items during the enforced self-isolation period, and how the coronavirus has changed their consumer habits, and what the road ahead looks like for businesses and advertisers.

The online survey was conducted using the Yandex.Vzglyad service, a service that allows businesses to organize their own audience research.

The survey covered four FMCG categories: Food, Household Chemicals & Home Care, Cosmetics & Personal Care, and Pet Products. Sample – 3000 respondents.

The study found that during the self-isolation period, consumers increased the frequency of purchases and the value of online shopping in the aforementioned categories.

Depending on the category, the increase of Russian consumers making online purchases varied between 34% and 64%. For some users, between 3% and 6%, they made their first ever online purchases.

For a third of Russians, the enforced self-isolation has become an excuse (or reason) to fully or partially switch to online shopping for cosmetics and personal care products.

At the same time, 36% of respondents do not complete the purchase of cosmetics in online stores, considering this type of shopping as entertainment rather than satisfying an urgent need. This exercise of “window shopping” also means that this product category has the longest conversion timeline.

The most relevant advantage of online ordering for users was the ability to make purchases anywhere and at any time – it was noted by 53% of respondents. This speaks to the importance of mobile channels in this type of shopping, and the need for fast loading websites with information (such as stock and delivery) being very clear and upfront.

According to Yandex.Vzglyad data, between 56% to 75% of respondents (depending on the category) did not plan to reduce the share of online purchases even after all restrictions were lifted. This means that the trend for the development of e-commerce in the FMCG sector has every chance of gaining a foothold in the long term.

This correlates with data and research published by Accenture, in which Accenture analysts expect 37% of all purchases will be made online after the pandemic, up from 32% from a similar poll conducted in May 2020. You can read more on this study here.

Changing Consumer Habits

During the pandemic, the most important factors record that most influenced the consumer experience were:

  • The ability to choose wholesome and natural food
  • A good loyalty program
  • Good levels or product availability and range
  • And convenient and fast delivery.

In addition, online shopping is perceived to be epidemiologically safer and lessen the risk of contact with, and spreading of the virus.

Almost 40% of respondents noted that they abandoned their carts if they didn’t find suitable delivery options, while different product categories have their own characteristics and nuances. For example, when ordering food the speed of delivery was noted as an important and influencing factor by 56% of respondents.

When ordering cosmetics and personal care products, reputation and store reviews proved to be an important factor, with 41% noting that they pay attention to store reviews.

Promotional offers and other incentive programs are gaining great importance, with 36% of survey participants noting that they are purposefully looking for discounts and savings on ecommerce stores.


You can find out more about Yandex.Vzglyad here.

Dan Taylor
Dan Taylor is an experienced SEO consultant and has worked with brands and companies on optimizing for Russia (and Yandex) for a number of years. Winner of the inaugural 2018 TechSEO Boost competition, webmaster at and Sloth.Cloud, and founder of