COVID-19 Commerce for the Week of May 4, 2020

White face mask with a map of the world is lying on a blue background.

This week several countries have begun to relax COVID-19 restrictions, resulting in a drop in online purchasing for both pure players and retailers. With stores open, many consumers would rather shop the way they used to before the pandemic. But there is an underlying factor: the economic fallout has left many without jobs, and some consumers simply can’t afford to purchase anything beyond staples.

Here are some of the top e-commerce trends we’ve spotted over the past seven days.

Chopping Boards and Tripods Among the Fastest-Growing Product Sales in the Last Three Weeks

For some odd reason, the products showing the fastest growth in online sales over the past three weeks include chopping boards, tripods, and laundry baskets. The top-five list, which compares sales in the last three weeks with sales in the three weeks prior, are:

  1. Chopping boards (+75%)
  2. Food processors (+61%)
  3. Barbecues (+51%)
  4. Tripods (+51%)
  5. Laundry baskets (+49%)

The top three are understandable as they all relate to one category — food — but the others are a little harder to explain. Perhaps the lockdown is driving the demand for tripods for those making TikTok videos?

Conversely, the products showing the sharpest decline in consumer interest over the past three weeks include yoga mats (-74%), weights (-71%), treadmills (-64%), and exercise bikes (-62%) as the health market returns to normal after the initial lockdown spike.

Is Physical Retail Recovering in Countries Lifting Lockdown Restrictions?

As European countries re-open shops after lockdowns, are consumers exchanging online shopping for the high street once more?

Since Germany began to open shops again on the 20th of April, online sales revenue growth has decreased from 67% (in the week leading up to April 19) to 46% (in the week leading up to May 3rd) compared with the same time last year.

Italy has also seen a large decrease in online retail sales as people return to physical stores. At the time of shops reopening on the 20th of April, Italian online retail growth decreased from 159% to 105% year over year.

Spain began to re-open shops on May the 4th, and it remains to be seen whether online growth will shrink from the current 15% during the week leading up to May 3. And in the UK, where restrictions remain, online sales growth continues to rise — increasing from 99% to 128% between April 19 and May 3.

Pure E-Commerce Revenue Continues to Climb in the US Across All Categories

In the US, almost every vertical exceeded last year’s online revenue numbers as the country enters its seventh week in lockdown.

These trends are showing no sign of slowing down, either. Pure e-commerce brands look like they’re going to continue to see an uplift in sales and revenue online, simply based on the fact that consumers are growing accustomed to the ease of shopping online and pick-up-in-store options.

These no-contact shopping options are convenient in our time of lockdown, and Digital Commerce 360 is saying that the pandemic has accelerated the shift of in-store to online shopping. The big question is whether or not consumers will stick to these modes of buying as their primary way of shopping, even once lockdown restrictions are raised.

Data Insights for the Week

The Americas

In the US, the online spending spree of the last six weeks is winding down, dramatically in some industries. The growth’s been a surprise to some, but the reality of just how deep the economic impact will be is setting in — nearly a quarter of the American working population is unemployed. Millions of consumers have started tightening their belts over the last week. And this is happening even as some countries allow business to partially reopen.

Order Increase Leaders at a Glance

Europe

Omnichannel retailers in the UK are devoting a lot to e-commerce, and one of the trends of the last week was that certain industries like food and beverages, home gym equipment, home office equipment, and pets are seeing a ton of new customers. People who traditionally stopped by the pet store on the way home for food are now ordering online and having a whole new experience.

With businesses being allowed to reopen in Germany, two things happened this week.

As we’ve seen in other regions, online revenue and orders plummeted 50% throughout the DACH region.

The second thing will bear more watching: Consumers went shopping in-store and waited in long checkout lines with little regard for social distancing. This conflict will play out around the world. Do we open for business? Or do we continue to limit the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic?

Order Increase Leaders at a Glance

Asia Pacific

With e-commerce sales spiking, Australian retailers are rethinking their physical store model. Some brands will undoubtedly close stores, some may go bankrupt (Neiman Marcus in the US), but with the shift to digital bringing in revenue increases, many retailers will reevaluate stores as a channel. Ideally, a smaller number of brick-and-mortars complimented by a strong online presence would allow brands to focus more on how their customers like to shop.

Top Product Trends of the Week

Key Product Trend Insights: Weights are down this week, but other athletic wear and equipment are still being purchased (Swiss Ball is a top performer again this week with a +5,443% uplift). Beauty accessories are the fastest growers this past week.

Growth Rate of Online Transactions

E-commerce is growing the most in Europe, followed by the Americas, with APAC having markedly lower growth rates than the rest of the world this week.

Overall for pure players, orders are taking a bit of a dip this week, which may be due to some nations relaxing COVID-19 restrictions. Retail e-commerce is still doing quite well, especially in Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Following are the growth trends we saw this week, but you can explore Regional and Countriestrends in more depth.

Trends by Region

Pure e-commerce: APAC pureplay is steadily rising (nearly 50% revenue growth this week), while revenue for most of the rest of the world either fell or flattened out.

Retail online: Here too, APAC has been on the upswing and caught up to North America, where revenue has begun to drop a bit, though retailers are still seeing 100% growth over the previous year.

Trends by Country

Pure e-commerce: Chile is crushing it and doubling its growth rate. Next closest is Canada with just under 150% revenue growth, then Mexico (124% revenue growth), with the United States falling to 88% revenue growth. Overall, Canada, the US, and Mexico are on a downward turn this week.

Ireland’s pureplay is up over 200%, with Belarus and the United Kingdom on an upward swing.

Australia (130%) and Thailand (46%) are both on an upward arc. New Zealand, which has been very strong over the last few weeks flattened out and fell this week (106%).

Retail online: Mexico and Canada are at the top with over 200% growth, while the United States ended the week back down at a flat 100% (still though, 100% growth YoY isn’t so bad).

Retailers in Turkey are seeing a huge amount of online activity, resulting in well over 200% revenue growth YoY. By comparison, the United Kingdom and Ireland ended the week over 125% growth, and Germany continues to be flat with just under 50% growth.

As for Asia Pacific, New Zealand finished the week up over 200% in revenue growth. Indonesia was just behind New Zealand, dipping to 175%. Another bright spot is Thailand shooting up from just under 100% to 178% in the last week.

More to Come…

Check our blog next week to see the latest e-commerce trends from ccinsight. Or, if you work for a company that has access to data that would improve and expand ccinsight, we’d love to talk to you and get you involved. Never before has open collaboration been more important.

Handpicked Related Content:

CCINSIGHT.ORG | Data-Based Consumer Insights to Help Retailers Drive New Strategic Approaches to COVID-19

Mark Enochs
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Mark Enochs

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