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How is COVID-19 Impacting Ecommerce Sales?

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Post originally published March 23, 2020. Last updated April 7, 2020.

How is coronavirus impacting ecommerce sales? Ecommerce sales during coronavirus outbreak

The covid-19 outbreak has disrupted our sense of normalcy as we adjusted to a new week of remote working. For many of us, we have new working views and customs; we have completed our first week of remote working and are adjusting to the new normal created by the coronavirus outbreak. To fill the weekend, many of us online shopped as a means of coping throughout social distancing rules to curb the spread of the coronavirus infection. And how is covid-19 impacting ecommerce sales? The coronavirus is impacting business operations, economic projections, consumer online shopping, and online sales. Ecommerce retailers have to remain adaptable to navigate the effects of the coronavirus on their stores. While we cannot yet estimate the lasting coronavirus effects on the economy, NetElixir can offer real data on the coronavirus impact on businesses and retailers. 

Researching How COVID-19 Impacts Ecommerce Sales

In NetElixir’s continued study into online shopping behavior and ecommerce sales during the coronavirus outbreak, our Retail Intelligence Lab analyzes and aggregates real-time consumer data to observe the day-to-day changes across seven retail ecommerce categories. We present the real data, from real-time customers, to show what effect the coronavirus is having on ecommerce sales and transactions. NetElixir provides continuous ecommerce during coronavirus updates through our webinar presentations and blog posts.

Today, we do a deep dive into Apparel and Home Furnishing, to update the status of their ecommerce sales during the coronavirus outbreak.

Trends in Ecommerce Sales During COVID-19

  • Contrary to the general trend of the younger population contributing to orders within the apparel industry, the COVID-19 outbreak has brought about a paradigm shift in buying behavior as we see more users above 65 years shopping online.
  • Orders coming in through mobile continue to remain steady, when compared to the time period before the coronavirus outbreak. The apparel industry has historically had a sizable population purchasing products online through their phones. Hence, there isn’t much impact of the pandemic on their buying behavior across devices.
  • While we have witnessed a drop in the number of transactions and conversion rates in many industries such as apparel and tools industry, the trend with average order value seems to tell a different story altogether. We saw a sudden spike in the average order value for segments such as the apparel, food and gourmet, gifting etc. The phenomenon can be partially attributed to some retailers having offers on some high end products or because people are stocking up essentials to be prepared to face this crisis.

We get into industry specific data below. 

Ecommerce Sales During COVID-19: Industry Specific Trends

How is COVID-19 Affecting the Apparel Retail Ecommerce Industry?

For the Apparel industry, conversions and transaction sales  were falling behind the 2019 data. With uncertainty over how long the coronavirus lives on clothes and cancellations of events that would have necessitated new looks, research shows that people preferred to buy the necessities like food and household supplies over indulging in fashion.

Ecommerce sales during covid-19 for clothes and apparel. How coronavirus is impacting fashion
Ecommerce sales for apparel improved over the weekend after a slow beginning amid the coronavirus outbreak. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.

As brick and mortar store fronts are forced to close, as showcased in Retail Dive tracking retail’s response to the coronavirus, in updating store hours and how brands are servicing their employees, people turn to online shopping. In the hope of prepping a new summer wardrobe and some ecommerce retailers reducing shipping minimums and extending offers, the apparel ecommerce category saw the following increases over the weekend:

  • A 46% increase in transactions from March 21 and 22, 2020, compared to the same days in 2019.
  • Average order value (AOV) increased 17%.
  • Mobile orders increased 23%.

Ecommerce sales will help the fashion industry make up their in-store losses and preserve their establishments during the coronavirus outbreak. We have not seen dramatic and consistent increases for the apparel industry, but each sale supports these businesses so we can all make it through these times together.

How is COVID-19 Affecting the Home Furnishing Retail Ecommerce Industry?

As people seemingly shopped more for apparel over the weekend in anticipation of when social distancing may end, ecommerce sales for home furnishing did not see as much improvement. Earlier last week, home furnishing saw a 62% increase on March 16, 2020, compared to the same day in 2019. However, over the weekend of March 21 and 22, 2020, compared to the same dates in 2019, home furnishing saw:

  • Only a 13% increase in transactions.
  • A 27% increase in conversions.
  • A 9% decrease in AOV.

Because orders for home furnishing had increased earlier, consumers seem to have bought what they wanted in anticipation of having to spend a lot of time at home.People seemingly plan for home improvement projects as restrictions are put into place limiting people’s travelling and outings. Now, as we move into our second week of more remote working, shoppers spend their time online elsewhere. Growing concerns about the spread of the Covid-19 could impact ecommerce sales.

Home buying and home furnishing ecommerce sales during covid-19
Home furnishings saw an initial increase in ecommerce sales as people anticipated home projects, but those sales started to decline over the weekend. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

How ECommerce Retailers can Navigate through COVID-19 outbreak

Forbes discusses the importance of remaining adaptable during these times and turning to a digital presence to continue to reach consumers and opportunities and to stay connected. As brick and mortar stores close and people are asked to stay at home and practice social distancing, a digital presence can help businesses maintain sales. People are turning more toward online shopping during the coronavirus outbreak to stock up on necessary items.

If you are wondering if it is safe to order items online, MSN notes that coronavirus does not last long on surfaces. Online shopping benefits the community, especially small businesses who had to close their stores.

As the coronavirus crisis continues, businesses are compelled to rethink their strategies and even their business models to accommodate online sales and a user-friendly ecommerce experience.

Insights Powered by NetElixir during COVID-19

NetElixir’s upcoming webinar this Thursday will detail a more comprehensive overview of transactions, percentage of new customers, average order values (AOV), and more.  Our Founder and CEO, Udayan Bose, will provide deeper insights into how Covid-19 is impacting ecommerce sales and online shopping behaviors. Additionally, we will have a special Q&A interview with Parag Shah, Vice President of the Grocery Division of Wakefern for Shoprite. Parag will discuss the firsthand changes he has seen in his store and how the coronavirus outbreak affects grocery stores like Shoprite. 

Register for our live webinar for updates on ecommerce sales during the coronavirus outbreak on Thursday, March 26 at 2 PM ET. We will provide insights and real time data by hosting follow-up webinars every two weeks.

Our data pulls from real-time customer paths to purchase during the period of outbreak, providing a gauge of immediate consumer behavior. NetElixir knows that one insight can change everything. To help your business during these times, we have a complete set of free online tools to help you understand where and how your customers are clicking and buying. LXRInsights, our proprietary analytics tool that tracks real-time data, powers all our insights. You can request your free demo of our tool here.

Insert below is our prior webinar from March 11 in its entirety:

Our webinar series on how the Covid-19 outbreak continues to impact ecommerce sales and online shopping behavior can be found here. We will provide updates every two weeks, supplementing blog posts covering insights into the economic and online effects of the coronavirus crisis.

For further reading, you can look through our retail analytics updates on ecommerce and online shopping behavior from last week: