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How Coronavirus Is Affecting YOY Online Transactions

NetElixir Presents coronavirus updates webinar

To continue helping your business during the coronavirus outbreak, NetElixir advises a constant and strict monitoring of search queries and consumer search behavior. The coronavirus outbreak has changed how we currently work, interact, and live, which is reflected in consumers’ online shopping behavior. New consumers are finding different ecommerce sites and people tend to make purchasing decisions more quickly for fear of running out of essentials.

At NetElixir, we have started compiling this daily search and shopping data for our webinar presentation on the Impact of COVID-19 on Consumer Shopping Behavior and Retail eCommerce, which aired on March 11. Our initial research covered the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, looking at the daily online sales metrics over two 21-day periods (from January 26 to February 15 and February 16 to March 7), and comparing the daily data between 2020 and 2019.

The retail categories we considered were Women’s Apparel, Home Improvement, Tools and Hardware, Food and Gourmet, Gifting, Equine Supply, and Home Furnishings. To analyze the online shopper behavior metrics, we used our proprietary customer analytics platform LXRInsights™, of which you can request your free demo here.

Impact on Food and Gourmet during the Initial Days of Coronavirus 

From the early data we compiled, we found that online shoppers in the Food and Gourmet category spent 24% less time between initial landing on the website and completing a purchase during the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, compared to the same time in 2019. The number of website landings prior to purchase within the Food and Gourmet category decreased by 43%. As the pandemic continued to spread, people bought food products to stock up their pantires, quickly completing their online orders to ensure they had enough.

Online sales for Food and Gourmet have increased amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Online transactions for the Food and Gourmet retail category has spiked as coronavirus continues to restrict people’s ability to dine out.

During the period of February 16 to March 7, 2020, there was an increase of nearly 35% in new visitor (to purchasing customer) conversion rate compared to the 2019 period, while the existing customer conversation rate increased by less than 10%. The older generation, because they are more vulnerable to the contagion, have begun to alter their shopping habits as they stay inside to avoid infection. This fear of exposure, paired with officials urging social distance, results in people relying on online shopping and delivery systems, especially those who may not have done so before.

Changes in Food and Gourmet and Gifting Categories throughout Outbreak

Now, a week after our initial webinar, with data compiled from January 26 through Monday, March 16, we can offer more insights into the day-by-day changes of online retailers and their customers. Looking at daily data from earlier this week, we have seen the following:

  • Food and Gourmet retailers have seen a spike in their site activity on March 16: Conversion rates increased nearly 95% and transactions increased nearly 300%.
  • For gifting, first mobile orders have jumped from about 35% from March 15, 2019, to nearly 70% on March 15, 2020.

As more institutions shift to remote working and learning amid the coronavirus outbreak, people have started to turn more toward online shopping for their essentials. Mobile continues to have an increasing role in customer paths to purchase, although we have already seen this trend expanding over the years. Food and Gourmet has generally increased in conversions, transactions, and average order value (AOV) over the past couple of days. Meanwhile, apparel has seen a downward turn, presumably because the coronavirus causes events to be canceled and social gatherings restricted, thus limiting the amount of new looks people need.

NetElixir Continues to Monitor Daily Conversions and Transactions

We are compiling daily data on the shifts in online searching and shopping behavior and ecommerce sales. To guide our research, we are considering the following questions:

  • When are shoppers making their purchase?
  • Is there a change in the percentage of mobile orders?
  • Is there a correlation between the daily tweet volume and ecommerce sales for that specific date?
  • What is the percentage spike in impressions for top keyword searches?

As we continue to monitor the effects of the coronavirus on online shopping behavior, ecommerce sales, and keyword searches, we will publish our findings as soon as we can. For a cohesive update that will address the above questions, we will be hosting a follow-up webinar on the Impact of COVID-19 on Consumer Shopping Behavior and Retail eCommerce Update, which will be live on Thursday, March 26 at 2 pm ET. Register for the follow-up webinar on coronavirus’s continued impact on online shopping here.