Each big global crisis event leaves its footprint on our behavior, and the coronavirus is no different. Thanks to global lockdowns, physical stores had to adapt and go online in order to survive. During the pandemic, we have seen a lot of online stores opening and competition is fiercer than ever. In this blog, we will have a look at what the COVID-19 pandemic did to eCommerce.
Increase in online sales
During the crisis, most eCommerce businesses got their chance to sell more than ever, as more and more people opted to shop online. One of the main reasons for this dramatic increase is the quarantine. Most of the world decided to go on lockdown during the pandemic, which resulted in a change in the average shopper’s mindset. Since everybody was staying home and avoiding physical stores, the only place they could do their shopping was online – and that’s what made eCommerce businesses grow.
According to Amazon, the outbreak of the Coronavirus has led to an increase in online shopping, so 100,000 new employees are being sought to meet the increased demand. This should strengthen the human resources in the fulfillment centers as well as in the shipping network.
New business opportunities
Along with all the disadvantages that 2020 brought to our lives, there were some advantages as well. Some help was launched during the worst times. In the middle of the pandemic, a new eCommerce sales channel was created, called Facebook Shops. This was the much-needed help for small businesses. During the coronavirus pandemic, all the little shops that didn’t sell online were at risk of shrinking out. This meant that small businesses had to find the quickest way to make eCommerce work for them.
Facebook created a portal where they could set up shops and use Instagram and Facebook to sell their products. This selling method does not require a lot of resources or knowledge, so it can be a convenient choice for most businesses just starting out in eCommerce.
How did the coronavirus affect different product categories?
Despite the fact that we can all agree that interest in eCommerce during the Coronavirus pandemic was higher, we cannot apply it to all online stores. Under the given circumstances, some product categories gained more popularity than others. There were some specific items that people wanted to get their hands on and their demand increased significantly – we’re talking about medical care items like face masks, air purifiers, and disinfection liquids. According to data from Nielsen, items like hygienic and medical mask sales are up by more than 300%. Let’s not forget about the toilet paper crisis, when supermarkets and suppliers were taken by surprise by the sudden demand of this common household product. Then we saw an increase in items for indoor activity – such as home gym equipment. The quarantine has forced many of us to take on new hobbies that we could do while we were at home.
Statistics also show that e-commerce shops that sell products that are more geared towards people’s basic needs have a chance of generating more sales due to the coronavirus. This is because people tend to avoid going to the supermarket etc. and prefer to have the products delivered to minimize the risk of infection. Accordingly, online shops that sell baby products, for example, have seen increased website traffic. Also, online retailers selling pet food and other pet supplies will most likely experience a significant increase in orders from their online shops in the coming weeks.
On the other hand, there are product categories that have seen a massive decline during the coronavirus pandemic. We can name some of them: items for traveling, party supplies and camping equipment, beachwear, sunglasses, etc. It’s not hard to see why traveling is the last thing that you want to think of with all the closed borders and pandemic vibes.
We’ve also seen a decrease in luxury item sales, as people that are uncertain of their future resort to spending less. Vogue Business projects a potential loss as great as $10 billion for this industry in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Online retailers and buyers are adapting to the current circumstances without a lot of footholds and shifting their behavior as a result. Thanks to the growth and expansion of eCommerce and the infrastructure supporting it, most goods are available online and can be purchased by customers with ease – removing the need of going out into brick-and-mortar stores and possibly getting in contact with a person that has COVID.