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Road To Recovery: Year over Year Ecommerce Sales And Online Shopper Insights

As the coronavirus pandemic continues and states across America begin to reopen, data becomes all the more crucial. Online sales and ecommerce metrics during the crisis showcase consumers’ changing purchase journeys.

We have seen explosive growth in multiple retail categories, especially with the release of the stimulus checks in the middle of April. The coronavirus has unlocked a huge potential for ecommerce growth, as consumers become habituated to online shopping. 

NetElixir’s Founder and CEO Udayan Bose joined our partners at BWG Strategy to discuss the latest research NetElixir’s Intelligence Lab has aggregated and why retailers who aren’t growing at a 100% year over year rate are losing market share.

Ecommerce Growth on the Road to Recovery

eCommerce sales have continued to grow year over year throughout the pandemic. While sales are not as explosive as they were at the onset of the outbreak, Bose still notes that the growth we are seeing is “exceptionally, exceptionally strong.”

“It shows the magnitude of demand we are dealing with,” Bose says. 

The Food and Grocery retail category saw enormous growth early on due to panic buying, nearly almost 600% year over year growth at the end of March. Demand has evened out, but Food and Grocery is still experiencing tremendous growth of over 200% year over year.

As food demand has stabilized and consumers are not as worried about finding food to feed their families, shoppers have turned to other ecommerce retail categories. As the chart below indicates, we see growth across industries.

ecommerce online sales during coronavirus
Year over year growth of online sales across retail categories.

Demand is constantly increasing week to week. The Apparel retail industry also saw continued growth after an initial boost from the stimulus checks. As states slowly reopen, people are enjoying the spring weather and looking for the perfect outfits to match.

There is a massive potential for ecommerce as consumers shift to online shopping. The coronavirus outbreak has accelerated digital opportunities. “This opens a completely different magnitude of demand,” Bose says, regarding eCommerce sales and revenue.”

By the end of this quarter, ecommerce sales could account for 25% of total United States retail sales, Bose predicts. This forecast accounts for social distancing measures that will still be observed, as well as the presumption of reduced foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores that have reopened as people remain cautious of crowded places.

Declining brick-and-mortar retail sales lead to a deficiency in retail sales of about $125 billion from March and April. The pent-up demand to fill this deficient could shift online.

“With a fair amount of confidence we can say that the future is online,” Bose says. 

While the world was always moving toward a more digital landscape, the coronavirus has forced an accelerated shift. Businesses need to be nimble and have the resources, tools, and partners to manage a rapid scale up.

New Online Shoppers

Consumers who are new to online shopping are increasing dramatically. Stay-at-home orders have been in effect for over two months. People are becoming conditioned to online shopping. Coming out of the pandemic, we will have formed new habits, like continued working from home seen in companies like Twitter and more of a focus on mental health initiatives

Shoppers are taking less time to complete their shopping journey. With the time between a customer’s first visit and first purchase lessening, the data shows that customers are ready and willing to make a purchase quickly. Ecommerce retailers must ensure that their page load times are functioning properly because new customers may abandon a site for a competitor’s if the page load times are too slow.

new online shoppers during the coronavirus across retail categories
Growth percentage of new online shoppers across retail categories.

According to our dataset, smaller businesses that were nimble and aggressive with customer acquisition won a larger percentage of new shoppers. This doesn’t mean, however, that existing customers are not shopping. Returning customers are buying, on average, about 76% more than pre-pandemic times.

NetElixir’s latest research is finding that Wednesday is the most prominent day for customers to shop, overturning the reign of Mondays and Fridays for the Apparel Industry pre-pandemic.

Post-Pandemic Recovery

Bose expects we can see continued growth over the next six to twelve months as we move to new events like back to school and holiday preparation. By monitoring the data of ecommerce sales and shopper behavior, marketers can learn how it will impact their business and what moves they can make to seize these digital opportunities. 

Consider the following in navigating your business to recovery:

  • How much demand can ecommerce retailers manage without breaking their supply chain and ecommerce infrastructure?
  • Are ecommerce retailers ready to handle the pent-up demand?
  • Do they have the resources, technology, and partner ecosystem to manage a rapid scale up as ecommerce growth continues?
  • Have you ramped up acquisition marketing yet to drive new website visitors?
  • How do you plan to engage new shoppers?
  • Are the buying patterns of your new customers similar to that of your existing customers? 

Answering these questions will help marketers and retailers to successfully manage their business post-pandemic. In the post-pandemic world, we will the emergence of a new retailer:

What will the new normal look like for ecommerce retailers after the coronavirus
What will the new retailer look like in the post-pandemic new normal?

Retail Recovery: Lessons from Micro-Mark CEO

As part of our fifth installment in our Covid-19 Updates Webinar series, we will shift gears and explore the latest data that will lead to a successful recovery.

Tools and Hardware retail category during coronavirus

NetElixir is excited to welcome Chas Fox of Micro-Mark for our newest segment Lessons from the CEO. Fox will share his tool and hardware industry experience from this pandemic. He will also discuss the adjustments and business decision Micro-Mark had to make to meet the growing demand.

Micro-Mark sells precision power tools and supplies to high-end hobbyists and makers. 

NetElixir interviewed Chas Fox earlier in the year to discuss how he went from a wide receiver in the NFL to building a successful business.

Micro Mark Interview

Fox provides guidance to companies with high growth intentions and insights to traditional retail companies looking to improve in the digital marketplace. His specialities include marketing, product development, change management, business plan design and execution, and more. He will discuss:

  • How Mirco-Mark has dealt with the challenges caused by the pandemic.
  • Key changes he has observed in his shopper’s behavior.
  • What Micro-Mark has learned in navigating this crisis.

Register at https://www.netelixir.com/covid-19/ and tune in live tomorrow at 2 PM ET.

Additional Insights

Learn the ongoing facts of how the coronavirus impacted retail ecommerce and online shopping behavior by watching the entirety of our Covid-19 Updates Webinar series before tomorrow’s presentation. The schedule is as follows:

  1. March 11: The first of the series on tracking the impact of the coronavirus on ecommerce sales and online shopping behavior.
  2. March 26: Meet our first Retail Superhero, Parag Shah, the Vice President of Grocery at Wakefern Food Corporation for Shoprite. Learn over a month’s worth of research.
  3. April 9: Our third update featured UPS’s President of SMB and US Marketing, Gerard Gibbons, for a live Q&A.
  4. April 23: We detailed over two months’ worth of research. Kaki Zell, Co-Owner and Vice President of Ames Walker, shared a story of innovation in the apparel industry.
  5. Our fifth installment, Road to Recovery – Real Time Data on eCommerce Sales & Online Shopper Behavior, will air live tomorrow May 21 at 2 PM ET.

The next expert in our Reimagine Tomorrow series is Professor Jerry Wind of Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. On Thursday, June 4 at 2 PM ET, Wind will present Opportunities in Times of Crisis. Join the conversation on social media by using #KnowledgeInspires.

Looking for additional insights and information for your specific category? Email us at shareinsights@netelixir.com.

Learn More about Ecommerce Updates During Coronavirus

You can join the conversation on social media using #NxInsights.

For further reading, you can see our prior retail analytics updates on retail ecommerce and online shopping behavior: