The global pandemic has affected so much of how we live our lives. None more so than the way we shop. The guidelines and restrictions have led to a shift in how consumers prefer to receive their goods. The numbers for 2020 back this up showing an enormous leap in e-commerce. As the virus changes our world, more and more people are finding getting their goods directly to them is a lot more appealing. We will go into just how much e-commerce has grown and mention some of the online retailers that have benefited the most.

The facts and figures

Physical department stores and retailers took a huge hit in the first quarter of 2020 when the virus first hit. Sales saw a decrease in sales by 25% but this was just the beginning as we all now know. The subsequent quarter (Q2) saw another significant drop of around 75% whereas e-commerce kept growing.

Not only did the way people shop start to change but the products have too. In these uncertain times, items deemed non-essential such as clothing for example declined. On the other hand, the DIY and alcohol sectors increased. It’s not all bad for all physical retailers though...

Moving with the times

There are those physical stores that have fully embraced the change and ran with the opportunity. Companies like Walmart who adapted and invested in the online grocery market have seen amazing numbers in what a lot would consider a highly unpredictable time.

Target is another example of a retailer moving with the times. The gigantic retailer implemented their same-day fulfilment scheme as the trend hit. This has proved successful and has seen a growth of the service users by 273% in Q2.

Retailers like Amazon who already occupy the digital space have seen huge benefits from the wave of e-commerce reporting a recent quarterly profit increase of 40%!

Unfortunately, the likes of bars, gyms. restaurants and movie theatres have seen the biggest decline stuck in markets strictly governed by the guidelines of their respective countries. The likes of these businesses and the services they provide are unsuitable for the e-commerce market. The ripple effects like this and countless other reasons make this event unparalleled and something we will be experiencing the after-effects of for years to come.

Specific trends

Here’s a list of specific e-commerce products and services we may not have mentioned that have been affected.

Subscription services

Home entertainment on the whole as a sector has seen significant rises. This is evident by the growing numbers in subscriptions services like Netflix and Disney+. These streaming services or “streamers” are capitalising on the trend by vastly expanding their catalogue. Disney+ has just formed a merger with STAR providing more adult content and expanding their demographic massively.

Wellness & healthcare products

The strict restrictions rooms and guidelines to exercise and socialising have led to people trying to look after their well-being whilst regular lifestyles are limited. This has led to wellness and healthcare products seeing a spike in sales.

Pantry products (panic buying)

When regions began lockdown periods the unknown frightened many. People weren’t sure how easy buying goods was going to be in the coming weeks and months. This led to many participating in panic buying. A phenomenon that would consequently leave a lot of stores stripped of essential foods. The irony is that worrying and reacting to the thought of stores selling out actually made the nightmare a reality. With stores selling out, we turned to the internet meaning a huge rise in sales for these items.

The obvious products

Some products that are now part of our everyday lives weren’t a second thought pre-pandemic. The likes of personal protective equipment like masks are a requirement in most stores. Products like hand sanitiser quickly flew off the shelves and prices began to soar. The availability and affordability of options available through e-commerce led to massive percentage increases for these products (mainly down to the lack of requirements before 2020).

Final consideration

The branches and ripple effects the Coronavirus has had on the world are the most incredible most of us will see in our lifetime. The fact of the matter is that even when the virus is long behind us, the after effects on the economy and culture will far surpass the cause.

This hasn’t been all bad for some businesses managing to adapt and make it through rough waters if they were able to with their services or products. The ones that have seen a decline have had no other options but to be governed by guidelines out of their control.