Coronavirus and social distancing is expected to increase retail e-commerce sales

Coronavirus and social distancing is expected to increase retail e-commerce sales

It's a fact that online shopping is one of the most popular online activities around the globe.

According to Statista, "In 2019, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 3.53 trillion US dollars and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to 6.54 trillion US dollars in 2022."

As the coronavirus continues to spread worldwide, travel restrictions and quarantines affect hundreds of millions of people, impacting every part of our lives, and inevitably triggering sales declines in several industries, like the clothing and automotive industry.

Meanwhile, as consumers worry about being in public places, there have been signs of change in their shopping behaviour. A vast number of people prefer to shop online as a means of avoiding physical contact. According to Attentive, online sales in general increased by 113% (March compared to February 2020). The same analytic insights from Attentive's data showed that the outbreak of the virus also affects the percentage of digital sales in various industries. Some categories continue to experience increased consumer demand, especially the ones that sell the so called "essential" products, like food, health, personal care and baby products and pet supplies.

But consumer behaviour is highly affected by self-isolation. Social distancing starts to become the new norm, and people have to adjust to this new reality. They need to feel that their daily routine isn't disrupted; they need to feel that they continue living their "normal" lives. As a result, this gives rise to the consumers’ need to make their homes as functional and comfortable as possible. Equally, many business categories like electronics, home furnishing and beauty showed a significant increase in digital sales (March in comparison to February 2020, Electronics +87%, Home furnishing +40% and Beauty +10%, as per Attentive).

On the other hand, retailers that had to close their stores under the stay-at-home order, realized the urge of consumers to search online for the products they need, so they focused on their online stores in an attempt to persuade customers to make purchases while holing up in their homes, and also to increase their e-commerce revenue.

Based on the above, the change of consumer behaviour is a fact. If retailers succeed in establishing a deep connection with online shoppers, they will have loyal customers and more sales for their business. As stated in Forbes, "as the consumer’s comfort with online shopping becomes higher and technology is more intuitive and ubiquitous, the digital side of the retail business may be stepped up at a faster rate than previous projections."

In light of the new norm, e-commerce is expected to grow and evolve according to the way consumers shop online. So, if retailers want to be a part of this emerging online retail industry, they have to follow the trends and invest on e-commerce.

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