How Covid-19 is Changing the Information Sector and its Impact on Ecommerce

The Covid-19 situation is rapidly developing. The leisure and tourism industry including restaurants, hotels, bars, cinemas, transport services and gyms in most cities and towns are shutting down or running a bare minimum service.

At the same time the information sector is in the midst of having to quickly adapt to work-from-home (WFH). This is a major advantage for digital workers, we are fortunate enough that it is possible, with today’s software and home tech infrastructure, to easily move the office to home.

Zoom has seen a surge from 10 million to 200 million users as the world gets used to working and learning from home.

So here in the data sector we are very much still going about business as usual. Doing our best to support the brands that we work with through this turmoil and help ensure that we all make it out the other end.

In fact, the epidemic is likely to change the nature of the IT industry forever. It seems that it’s fast-tracking digital transformation in companies, as Forbes reports on how companies are adapting and adopting new technologies to enable a WFH cultural uprising.

Change in Shopping Behaviours

During this period of self-isolation there is definitely a trend for people, now confined to their homes for a large part of the day for the foreseeable future, to change their shopping behaviours.

The uncertainty has resulted in bare supermarket shelves due to bulk panic buying of food essentials such as bread, pasta, rice and flour (not to mention the whole toilet paper fiasco).

As expected the online grocery market has also seen a massive overnight uplift, and while British Airways are expected to furlough 36,000 staff, Amazon ramps up by hiring to 100,000 more staff to keep up with the surge in online shopping.

People are turning to redecorating their spare rooms, gardening and sorting through and refreshing their wardrobes and their purchasing decisions match these new activities. For example, in the UK sales of home appliances and gardening tools are rising.

We are in the age of ecommerce and the lockdown has only highlighted this more than ever. One can’t help but wonder if the high street will ever be the same again.

Covid-19 Commerce Insight

A useful resource for all marketers and analysts engaged in the ecommerce world, is a new project called Covid-19 Commerce Insight.

It shows the impact coronavirus Covid-19 has on ecommerce in Europe and the rest of the world. Every day, the tool shows new data at a global and regional level across multiple sectors.

Covid-19 Commerce Insight ( platform aims to help the business community by drawing from online engagement data of more than one billion consumers worldwide, interacting with approximately 2500 brands to provide an up-to-date view and trends of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on online retailers.

Changes in Revenue Across Ecommerce

Some industries are indeed seeing a significant uplift in sales and revenue, but that is not true across the board.

A lot of traditional ecommerce sites are seeing a decrease in sales and conversion rates 

Many agencies and marketers are pausing paid traffic campaigns for offline services that are temporarily shut. Non-essential digital contracts are being terminated as part of cost saving measures, to get through the financial strain that many businesses are facing.

Let’s also remember that omnichannel businesses are facing a big struggle even if they are seeing an increase in online orders. Their physical stores and the costs involved still heavily impact overall performance during this period.

Even those businesses lucky enough to be seeing sustained orders may struggle to fulfil them due to staff shortages and supply chain issues.

Product Categories Shifting During COVID-19

Nielsen, a market research company has identified six key consumer behaviour thresholds tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and their results on markets.

These are:

  • Proactive health-minded buying (purchasing preventative health and wellness products).
  • Reactive health management (purchasing protective gear like masks and hand sanitisers).
  • Pantry preparation (stockpiling groceries and household essentials).
  • Quarantine prep (experiencing shortages in stores, making fewer store visits).
  • Restricted living (making much fewer shopping trips, limited online fulfilment).
  • A new normal (return to daily routines, permanently altered supply chain).

Subscription services are also seeing position growth and more people take to inside entertainment habits.

In summary

With the majority of the highstreet now temporarily shut, we are likely to see a continued shift over to digital marketplaces. To a large extent this may in fact become the new norm – only time will tell, so we will have to wait and see.

The situation is also a ripe breeding ground for either rapid growth or going bust.

Ecommerce sites may see visitor numbers and conversion rates decline, and so it becomes even more important to make the most of the traffic that does come in, working harder than ever to increase conversion rates.

One thing is for sure, it is a time to either adapt, be resourceful and creatively take new approaches or take it lying down and hope for the best when it’s all over.

The sectors that are facing the challenge of increased customer demand also have to try to maintain stock levels and delivery performance, so it is difficult all around. 

How you react now is what matters the most.