The impact of Covid-19 on the e-commerce market

Demand for various sporting goods saw positive increases in April
Veronica Hottenroth

WHETHER it's keeping businesses afloat by powering working from home or providing a pivot for outlets to take their offering online, the power of the world-wide-web cannot be underestimated. The recent trends in the e-commerce market can provide an insight for Northern Irish businesses and help shape strategy moving forward.

With a network of 6,200 brand and retailer sites as part of our global client base, Bazaarvoice has a unique visibility into shopping activity. We use global data across more than 20 product categories and compare it to the same time period in 2019.

Throughout the month of March, data from our global network shows that customers started to prepare for the long haul of being home. The increases in the food, beverages and tobacco category is especially noteworthy as more shoppers turned to online shopping, some for the first time.

Throughout April we saw buying diversify with new categories entering the top five for both page views and order count. Shoppers took April to build their home gyms, find new forms of entertainment, take extra care of their pets, and start DIY projects at home, including car repairs.

• Toys and games had the largest increase in page views (261 per cent), as well as a 155 per cent increase in order count.

• Arts and entertainment saw a 166 per cent increase in page views and 171 per cent increase in order count. Reviews (103 per cent) and question submission (31 per cent) are also up.

• Sporting goods is seeing positive increases across page views (152 per cent), order count (220 per cent), review submission (22 per cent), and question submission (49 per cent).

• Animal and pet supplies experienced a 145 per cent lift in page views and 53 per cent increase in order count.

• Business and industrial (includes work safety gear and medical products) is still in the top five for page views (145 per cent) and also saw a 188 per cent increase in order count. Health and beauty is still in the top ten for order count (152 per cent).

It's not surprising these are the categories that consumers have been drawn to as they evaluated what they needed to live comfortably and entertain themselves and their children for the duration of stay-at-home measures.

Trending downwards in April was the luggage and bags category, which had a 13 per cent decrease in page views and a 17 per cent decrease in order count - understandable as consumers are not leaving the house or travelling.

Consumers have purchased the furniture they need for their home offices, games to occupy their kids at home, and food to stock their pantries, this shift in shopping makes sense.

With the amount of time consumers have had to stay at home so far, pets are starting to run out of food, books have been read, and cars need to be serviced to stay running.

The trends in April reflect our adjustment to the new realities of our lives in lockdown. We've seen a move away from essential to ‘comfort' buying as we settle into what is expected to be the long haul of staying at home.

:: Veronica Hottenroth is director of product management at Bazaarvoice

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