impact of covid 19
Covid-19 eCommerce: Impact of pandemic on market and consumers

Covid-19 eCommerce: Impact of pandemic on market and consumers


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It seems nothing can stop the COVID-19 pandemic. Nothing can fill the void for those thousands of families who are loosing their beloved ones in this global crisis. The global economy is facing a slowdown gradually leading the world into recession. Without a vaccine, social distancing is the only way to contain this virus. Is COVID-19 eCommerce impact denting the consumer and market sentiments?

The road seems a tough one but that does not mean it leads to a dead end. The world has stopped for the pandemic but the virus won’t stay here forever. We will eliminate it sooner rather than later. There is clearly a gleam of hope shining for you if you view things that way.

Well, how you see things decides what you can make out of it. Let’s be clear at this point in time, we need not conclude the outcome of the market. Today’s business environment is rapidly changing and it will until the virus isn’t eliminated altogether.

Let us take you through the tunnel of COVID-19 pandemic and shed light on the market and consumers. How can a business stay positive and optimistic?

COVID-19 eCommerce Impacts

The market is the playing field of any business and conditions of the field do matter. Although you can not simply imply that playing field is the only decisive factor in win or loss. If you analyze and adapt yourself to the conditions, everything else becomes irrelevant. Doesn’t matter how difficult a task is, if you are flexible enough to adapt, you are always going to gain lead against the competitors and achieve victory.

Influence of brands

Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on consumers

Source – eMarketer

When the market takes a hit, it has direct and indirect implications for a business. It would be fundamentally flawed if you assume that the impact is just negative. When you think market conditions are unfavorable, it has to be in a certain context.

There are a few determining factors of change in the market. These factors reflect a better view of how the market is changing and these changes can shape up in the future. We can clearly figure out the business implications of the impact COVID-19 Pandemic is causing to the market. The implications for the market must be the core of your business strategy as it should for any successful business to maintain sustainable growth.

As the laws of evolutionary science suggest “only those who adapt shall survive in the race with time, lag behind and you shall perish”. This theory is the basic essence of sustainable growth for business too.

Shopping Trends

eCommerce is the best hope for retailers to survive the COVID-19 crisis. Since customers can not shop from the stores, the eCommerce website is running away with a huge jump in numbers. But as I said earlier, there is a certain context to reality.

Increase in Sales

Online sales of retailers are showing a good jump. If you compare the numbers of the first three months of 2019 to this year, the revenue of online businesses is showing an increase of 90% and the conversion rates are jumping up by 8.8%. Stats are unarguably indicating a hype which is a positive surprise for the business community. As quarantine orders are implemented strictly, a positive impact on online retailers is hopefully going to rise even more.

More profits are attained by grocery stores than they ever saw in the past. The online traffic on the grocery shopping apps and websites show a terrific jump in the last few weeks.

As per the stats, two leading online grocery stores of India, Groafers, and Big Basket, both have seen a massive jump in online sales since the lock-down was imposed in the country. up to in number orders and an 80% increase in visitors within a span of 3 days.

Statistics follow more of the same pattern all over the world whether it is Amazon in the US or respective online grocery apps of Europe, China, South East Asia, and Australia.

Decline in Sales

Source – Mckinsey Research

However, in the long term, things may not be that bright for every sector. The travel and hospitality along with the airline industry are worst hit by the pandemic. They will probably need a good time for recovery, most likely even after the world returns to normalcy. The sales are decreasing for most and we can expect it as until the pandemic continues to haunt countries.

Most consumers are postponing their plans to purchase consumer electronics. Electronics and home appliances are not being bought unless people see an almost inadvertent necessity to buy it. This is likely going to create a huge wave of sales posts the epidemic.

Maximum growth in online sales of product categories (Feb-March) 

  • 32% in shelf-stable, frozen or canned goods

  • 32% in health and well-being products

  • 45% in cleaning supplies

Business Perspective

impact of covid-19 on consumer behaviourSource – Mckinsey Research

As a business, you can consider the pandemic as a perfect time to pull up your socks for an online infrastructure setup. You need to keep a customer-friendly approach so that even your regular consumers who may not be internet-savvy, can also place online orders without any issues.

At the same time, you can also provide a very organic ability to create orders. For instance, one of the most commonly used methods is, the consumer simply call the company and order those products on call. Such orders can also be placed via an automated response or structured answering machine using a cloud telephony service or human specifically dedicated to this task.

This way, you can create new orders through variable channels for easily selling your products to those who used to do in-store prior to the lock-down. Such consumers are the strength of a business and allowing them to order over a phone call can make them feel more attached to a store. This is a great way for in-stores especially in the time of COVID-19 Pandemic as they can their preexisting consumers.

Impact of COVID-19 on Consumer Behaviour

impact of covid-19 on consumerSource – Mckinsey Research

We can see some really interesting stats that tell about the approach of consumers right now. Despite a catastrophic tragedy, consumers won’t mind shopping in the malls after things get back to normal. As a matter of fact, nearly half of the respondents even expect their preferred shopping stores to provide a convenient online shopping option too.

In a recent survey, online shopping is not just limited to top tier cities, but not throughout all regions of the world, big or small doesn’t matter. There is a substantial difference in consumer behavior of tier 2 cities regarding online shopping. COVID-19 has forced them to explore eCommerce.

Online shopping – a compulsion more than a choice

impact of covid-19 on eCommerce

Source – Mckinsey Research

Smaller stores will get affected by this epidemic, as their consumers are compelled to stay indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, the e-commerce platform or shopping app is a fairly good option for smaller stores. To meet the household needs, people are extensively using online shopping all over the world. Many small businesses are growing at unprecedented rates by simply shifting online. This is clearly an indication for the business that it is time to consider an online option along with physical stores.

  • 47% of retailers expect some downside in revenue due to the corona-virus.
  • 33% found it too early to predict as they were oblivious to the understanding of how consumers may react.
  • 31% of shoppers have made more online purchases.
  • 23% have decreased their purchasing at physical store locations.

Existing online consumers

consumer behavior during coronavirusSource – Ipsos

Not all customers are affected by the pandemic as far as shopping habits are concerned. Many people were already shopping online and the lockdown never really bothered them. Furthermore, a majority of employees all over the work are working remotely so to keep a safe distance from coronavirus.
Quarantine is likely going to change the way in-store shoppers approach shopping. Isolation gives plenty of time to go through a change of heart. Harsh but true.

For people who prefer to go to the office, meet and chat with other people, visit crowded markets, COVID-19 has changed their way of life. They might find it tough to adapt to such confinement. As an e-commerce merchant, you can help them switch to new shopping habits. Provide engaging services and user-friendly shopping experience with the help of intuitive browsing dynamics and short & sweet checkout process.

Rise of a new era of eCommerce

Impact of Covid-19 on online shoppingSource – Ipsos

Online sales did show an average growth in the last months when most of the physical stores and markets are shut. People are being advised to avoid crowds and public spaces are being closed.

The only options people have is to eliminate the risk of transmission by self-isolating yourself from everyone. COVID-19 Pandemic is a trigger for online shopping and eCommerce is going to blossom faster than you can ever imagine.

To Conclude – Stay Healthy, Be Positive

Businesses can adapt to the conditions much easier than a human. At the end of the day, it is just an identity that needs to sustain in a volatile market. When it comes to adapting, it can be a two-way street. If the mind stays positive, we look for the solutions while others keep their focus on problems. COVID-19 eCommerce impact is evident. It definitely poses a challenge for business but not something beyond the realm of possibility to overcome.

The situation is unfavorable for human beings but this favors online business. See the irony, it is weird how things turn out to be. Most of the online retail brands are experiencing unexpected growth of late and it is hard to deny the social quarantine is not playing a role in this. For any business to sustain, eCommerce is not just a platform anymore, it is a necessity.

We at CedCommerce, understand the need of the hour and leave no stones unturned to help the small business bounce back into the fray. This is why we have announced a free marketplace website to NGOs and other government organizations working for society.

Our initiative to support the business during these times of crisis can help you a great deal. All you need to do is get in touch with us. Our eCommerce expertise is reckoned by the leading online platforms and it could be one of the best moves for your business growth too.

It is a decision you will inevitably have to take, so better do it today than pushing it to tomorrow. Time never waits for anyone, and this is the most ideal time to explore eCommerce setup and expand the wings of your business to fly in new territories.

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