On the one hand, government closures and restrictions came in waves coinciding with the waves of the virus outbreak, with so-called non-essential retail locations either being closed during lockdowns, or, until recently, admittance being allowed only for those vaccinated or recovered. This, in turn, influenced shopping behavior. Concerns about getting infected with the virus were still present, which undoubtedly also contributed to the diminished desire to visit locations with the potential for larger groups of shoppers gathered at a time. Shoppers were faced with two options: planning additional time and effort to go shopping or browsing, all this while wearing a mask, which diminished the leisurely element of the pastime, or finding alternative ways to buy goods, mainly through shopping online.
From the German point of view, there were several perceived important advantages when shopping online. Most respondents to a corresponding survey on the subject listed independence from shop opening hours and purchases being delivered to their home as the leading points in favor. Other respondents considered the selection of goods to be wider online, as well as cheaper offers being easier to find. Over time, grocery shopping also found its way online, with sales revenue growing annually in recent years.