Changes in consumer dynamics on general e-commerce platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic: An exploratory study of the Japanese market

Yuki Inoue, Masataka Hashimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study analyzed the changes in consumers' use dynamics of general e-commerce (EC) platforms (e.g., Amazon.com) during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. We initially supposed that the significance of consumer benefits, including pricing, product variety, and delivery services, on the platforms would decrease and the value of using an EC platform itself would increase due to the pandemic, based on which we conducted a comparative analysis of questionnaire data from 2,119 Japanese consumers who use general EC platforms. The data were obtained in November 2018 and January 2021. Our analysis has two parts, the first designed as a conjoint analysis to statistically analyze the changes in consumers' sense of values for pricing, variety of goods, stability and quality of delivery services, and basic benefits of using EC platforms; and the second part designed to statistically analyze the changes in comprehensive items when using EC platforms. We categorized the dataset into men and women and further clustered them based on the patterns of consumers' sense of factors when using EC platform. The analysis results were inconsistent with our initial supposition, in that a non-negligible proportion of consumer clusters showed an increase in the significance of factors, including pricing, product variety, and delivery service, and a decrease in the basic benefits of using EC platforms. Regarding the results of the analysis of comprehensive items, the only commonly observed change for most clusters of both men and women was an increase in the use of package drop. The results indicate that changes in consumers’ sense of using EC platforms due to the pandemic were not as simple as supposed because the pandemic caused various changes in the need mechanism of consumers of EC platforms.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere08867
JournalHeliyon
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Consumer dynamics
  • Delivery services
  • E-commerce
  • Platform pricing
  • Platform-based market
  • Product diversity

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