Covid-19 Survey: E-Commerce Sees Rough Road, Long-Term Benefits

Will e-commerce benefit from the Covid-19 crisis?
Will e-commerce benefit from the Covid-19 crisis? Image courtesy of Sellics.

Although many online sellers face severe challenges in the current pandemic, they are optimistic that e-commerce will leave the crisis as a winner. 

The current climate encourages those not shopping online to switch to online stores while also causing significant shifts in demand for certain products. Sellics, a leading e-commerce growth software provider conducted a survey in March, revealing the challenges, chances and expectations of businesses on Amazon. 

Survey respondents include brands selling on Amazon focusing mostly on the U.K., the U.S. and Germany.

Additional exclusive insights show how and where demand increases or declines, and which products are winners of the crisis.

E-commerce could see long-term benefits

A vast majority of survey participants expect the crisis to last 3 to 6 months or longer and fear a long-lasting recession as an aftereffect. Nonetheless, a majority of brands also consider e-commerce to leave the crisis stronger as more people start to order products online. This could lead to a change in behavior that enforces an already existing trend and catapults e-commerce years into the future.

How has the pandemic affected demand for your products on Amazon?
How has the pandemic affected demand for your products on Amazon? Image courtesy of Sellics.

Supply and demand – bottlenecks and significant shifts

Although supply prices (costs of goods) are rather stable, sellers currently see negative effects on shipping and production, leading to quickly declining stock levels. 

About half of the participants also described a decline in demand, however effects vary depending on the type of goods being sold. One food manufacturer, for example, reports an increase in sold products and brand awareness: 

“Our sales have increased tremendously in people’s efforts to stock up their pantries. I believe this has introduced our brand to many, many new customers."

Top-selling products during the Coronavirus crisis

The product categories experiencing the highest increase in demand, vary from country to country (looking at week-over-week estimated sales growth in % from March 2 to March 9, 2020):

  • In the U.S., groceries are on top (26% estimated sales growth) 
  • Italy shows a growing demand on products for sports and (solo) outdoors activities (236% estimated sales growth). 
  • In Germany, toys and games see a peak (36% estimated sales growth)

There are also some clearly visible shopping trends common across all countries: groceries and home basics, medical supplies, backyard and garden products, entertainment and activities, indoor and (solo) outdoor fitness, as well as home office tools have been trending, indicating that online shopping behavior is adapting to the new situation.

Top 5 main product categories in U.S., week-over-week March 2-March 9
Top 5 main product categories in U.S., week-over-week March 2-March 9, 2020. Image courtesy Sellics.

“We are facing a new and challenging dynamic environment for Amazon businesses,” Sellics CEO Franz Jordan said. “To help our clients find the right measures and cope with the current crisis, we have been setting up a newsletter with weekly updates and webinars. We are also constantly working on reliable and up-to-date information to provide as many insights as possible to support brands and agencies on Amazon in their decision making.”