Did you know that 50% of all product searches are done via Amazon? That’s right, they’ve even taken over Google as the number one place to search for products. This doesn’t even include paid searches or advertising, this is pure organic searches typed out via the hands of thirsty consumers. This statistic was clarified prior to Covid-19, at a time when E-commerce was already gaining traction and becoming THE way to make purchases. Fast forward to 2020 and Covid-19 has accelerated this shift to e-commerce even further. We take a look at how e-commerce has changed during 2020, the facts, the stats and what the future of e-commerce looks like.
E-commerce was projected to grow in 2020 regardless of Covid-19, however with people staying at home recently, this has only accelerated the shift to e-commerce even further, fast tracking it by 5 years according to new reports. The e-commerce market is now projected to grow by 20% in 2020 alone. During the pandemic, onlines purchases rose overall, despite consumer spending falling as people safeguarded themselves for whatever the future held. This isn’t just true for UK buyers. Worldwide, the shift to e-commerce is in full force. In a separate survey, more than half of the survey’s respondents admitted to now shopping online more frequently as well as relying on the internet more for news, health-related information and digital entertainment.
When news of Coronavirus, and potential lockdowns spread, and the WHO declared that there was officially a pandemic, people changed their buying behaviours overnight. Those who previously shopped for certain items in stores were now searching for them online. In a way, e-commerce became a saviour for panic buyers. The price of toilet roll skyrocketed on Amazon and other platforms and they sold out in supermarkets. However, Amazon and online grocery shopping provided us with a way to get our essentials without stepping foot outside. This e-commerce lifeline meant more people shifted their buying behaviours to shop online. It provided a safe and secure way to still receive items.
A survey undertaken by Survey Engine Land found that people are now spending up to 30% more online. The Covid-19 pandemic has widened the gap between traditional retailers and e-commerce. With non essential shops closing, more of us have been shopping online for things we previously bought in store. Meaning online sellers now have the opportunity to grab a share of the market previously dominated by traditional retailers. The perfect example of this is the continued success of online fashion e-commerce giants such as PLT and ASOS during the pandemic. Still being able to trade online meant no stock went to waste. Back in the physical retail world, Primark had to close their stores, and with no way to sell online, they built up a huge bulk of unsold stock, and incurred huge losses at the same time.
Online grocery shopping has never been so in demand as it is in 2020. As soon as lockdown was announced in the UK, Tesco, Sainsburys, Ocado and every single online grocery store that offered home delivery had their slots booked up for weeks in advance. Not only did these brands have to hire more staff to keep up with demand, they had to introduce more slots. For the first time in a decade, Tescos and Sainsburys sales overtook Aldi due to the fact they offered an online ordering and delivery service. Aldi was known for years as the go to grocery retailer due to cheap prices and decent products. Losing out on sales in 2020 due to the fact they don’t have an online ordering process is evident an online presence is almost crucial for businesses in 2020. Aldi are now stepping up their e-commerce efforts with a click and collect service that is now in the works.
The below graph shows the huge spike in grocery related e-commerce. Image source.
Whilst most businesses have struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic, Shopify have cashed in as more businesses than ever signed up to their e-commerce platform in the past few months. The Canadian company said revenue surged to $714.3 million in the second quarter, up from $362 million in the year-ago quarter and above the analysts’ forecast of $511 million. As businesses were forced to close their physical stores, Shopify provided a way for businesses to continue selling. This shift towards SHopify and other e-commerce platforms looks as though it is here to stay, as more and more retailers scramble to get online, realising that NOW is the time to get online.
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