Supply and Demand: Navigating the Coronavirus Outbreak

Supply and Demand: Navigating the Coronavirus Outbreak


Ensuring continued deliveries is no easy task during times of crisis like the coronavirus pandemic. UPS has deployed global and national relief to help businesses and communities during the coronavirus outbreak. In a survey of medium and small businesses affected by coronavirus, UPS gauged the rate of store closures, disruptions, and some “cautious optimism” regarding a post-coronavirus environment.

In an effort to continually thank UPS for delivering, NetElixir had the privilege of being joined by UPS’s President of SMB and US Marketing Gerard Gibbons for a live Q&A during our webinar presentation on April 9. We previously recapped the data on how the coronavirus outbreak is impacting ecommerce sales and online shopping behavior through the first week of April. Today, we will provide a summary of Gibbons’s Q&A with NetElixir Founder and CEO Udayan Bose.

UPS as our Second Retail Superhero

ecommerce sales during coronavirus

We wanted to honor how UPS has successfully managed the surge in demand throughout the crisis and contributed to maintaining our sense of normalcy by ensuring the continued delivery of our packages. 

“I want to start by recognizing UPSers on the frontlines,” begins Gibbons. As the nation shifted to remote working, learning, and living amid the coronavirus outbreak, demand in supplies surged to adhere to stay at home and social distancing measures. “The real heroes, the folks on the frontlines,” as Gibbons addresses them, have ensured that people have the essentials to continue their lives at home.

We all had to adapt to a new reality. And that reality brought on its own set of challenges. Many of us had to adjust to working from home, connecting with coworkers via video conferencing, creating office spaces, taking care of and teaching children, among many other things. With our packages of food, paper products, and office supplies arriving in a timely manner, we can continue to support the fight against coronavirus by remaining at home.

UPS Delivers During Coronavirus Outbreak

UPS prioritizes the health, safety, and state of their employees. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, UPS has been designated as a critical infrastructure business. Gibbons says that it is a responsibility and a privilege to continue to work at this time and provide for those in need.

“We will keep delivering for our customers through the end of this crisis,” promises Gibbons. 

While we are living through an unprecedented time with no playbook to guide us, UPS will continue to uphold their commitment to providing excellent service to their customers and carefully managing deliveries. 

A Stay-at-Home Economy During Coronavirus Outbreak

As part of NetElixir’s research, we are focusing on how the coronavirus outbreak is shifting online shopping behavior. More online orders create more deliveries. While NetElixir sees the drive in ecommerce sales, UPS often navigates the fulfillment of these orders to consumers’ homes. 

Gibbons says that the increase in online shopping has driven a stay-at-home economy, so businesses are really leaning in and using UPS to deliver to more and more residential addresses. Because ecommerce sales are the only means of business for many companies, fulfilling these orders is crucial to maintaining work. 

China had also experienced a stay-at-home economy while their lockdowns were in effect. Their consumers turned to online stores to buy cheaper groceries and essential items, according to S&P Global’s research.

UPS has thousands of people in operations and logistics who are experienced in adapting to and managing contingency plans to ensure businesses keep moving. 

UPS Gives Back to the Community

Through the UPS Foundation and its humanitarian efforts, UPS has provided substantial relief and support to the global community. Gibbons enumerates that UPS has donated:

  • Over $6 million in grants for transportation and supply chain collaboration to over a dozen organizations that deliver relief and support.
  • 4 million respirators, 11 thousand protective suits, and 280 thousand gloves to those in need.
  • 25 charter flights from FEMA containing over 3 million pounds of protective materials like masks, surgical gowns, swabs, thermometers, and more.

UPS has also partnered with WHO and ensured that their own facilities are compliant with WHO guidelines. UPS has also supported mobile coronavirus testing sites across the nation. 

What Can Retailers do Amid the Coronavirus Outbreak

Gibbons notes that this crisis reinforces how critical digital solutions are for small businesses. Multichannel selling will help small businesses manage difficult situations and have a buffer against brick-and-mortar closings.

The coronavirus outbreak has accelerated the trend of moving businesses into a digital space. Business leaders and marketers have a new means of communication and options for selling online.

Supportive digital partners will help customers “manage, survive, and in some cases thrive” in this crisis and beyond, Gibbons says.

Specifically, Gibbons says that retail executives should focus on cash management and having a written recovery plan for when the crisis subsides.

“Focus on being resilient. Reimagine what’s possible,” Gibbons says.

Additional Insights

NetElixir is UPS’s preferred search marketing partner. To UPS, thanks for delivering our essential items, gifts to loved ones, medical equipment to those on the frontlines, and so much more.

You can catch up on the entirety of our April 9 webinar below:


Register for our next webinar to stay up-to-date on the latest data regarding the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on ecommerce sales and online shopping behavior. Join us live on Thursday, April 23 at 2 PM ET.

Join BWG Strategy with NetElixir’s webinar on studying the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, live on Tuesday, April 21 at 3 PM ET.

While we have covered an extensive dataset, it is by no means exhaustive. If you are interested in discussing specific insights for your category, please email us at

You can watch our March 11 webinar here, which was the first of the series on tracking the impact of the coronavirus on ecommerce sales and online shopping behavior.

Our March 26 update webinar featured our first Retail Superhero, Parag Shah, the Vice President of Grocery at Wakefern Food Corporation for Shoprite,  and detailed over a month’s worth of research.

Our Founder and CEO Udayan Bose emphasizes the importance of real data. Real-time data, gathered daily by our Retail Intelligence Lab, shares a glimpse into how people are coping day by day. For further reading, you can see our prior retail analytics updates on retail ecommerce and online shopping behavior:

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