We all know COVID-19 has shaken up economic markets and daily life for many people and businesses around the globe. While it’s hard to find any unaffected aspect of our lives, the virus has had a marked effect on the world of ecommerce.
In April 2020, Red Points conducted a survey of 150 ecommerce leaders to find out what they are doing in light of COVID-19. The respondents represented companies in 10 product categories. Company size and percentage of revenue from online sales also varied.
- 58% of respondents have seen an increase in online revenue in March 2020 over last year
- 72% are pushing sales promotions and incentives to protecting online revenue
- 41% have seen an increase in cybercrime and 68% said fighting cybercrime is very important to their business
- 59% are looking to invest more in ecommerce channels as a result of COVID-19
- Medical companies, consumer electronics and toys/board games value brand protection the most
To simplify things, we’ll group companies by percentage of revenue from online sales like this:
- Group A: 11-25% of total revenue is from online sales
- Group B: 26-50% of total revenue is from online sales
- Group C: 51-75% of total revenue is from online sales
- Group D: 76-100% of total revenue is from online sales
Facing the enduring ecommerce boom
With more people stuck at home, online shopping has become a fact of life. This means many companies that give people what they want and need are seeing an increase in traffic and revenue. According to the survey, 58% of decision makers said their online revenue has grown because of COVID-19.
By industry, 75% of baby care product companies saw an increase in revenue. This is probably because of an increase in panic buying. Families don’t know how long the situation might last, so many want to stock up on essentials like diapers and baby wipes. No one wants to run out of diapers, after all.
Packaged food delivery is another channel that has grown since this time last year—73% of companies in this sector experienced growth. Consumer electronics are also hugely popular right now, and 69% of companies saw an increase in revenue.
Sixty-five percent of cosmetics and personal care product companies have seen growth, and 18% of those companies have seen revenue grow by over 51%, which is a higher portion than any other category.
According to respondents, revenue growth during this period also depends on how much a company sells online. Half of companies in group A saw sales grow, while 65% of companies in group D saw sales grow.
Similarly, most companies in groups A and B saw revenue increase by up to 25%. Most companies in group C saw up to a 50% increase in revenue. And 47% of companies in group D saw revenue grow by 51% or more.
Protecting online revenue
Even though many ecommerce companies are seeing a boost in sales for specific products, 48% of respondents said they see a decrease in consumer spending. Other revenue obstacles include supply chain delays (48%) and cybercrime (46%).
To combat this, an overwhelming majority (72%) said they are pushing more sales and incentives during this time. Eighty-eight percent of editorial and entertainment companies are doing this, followed by consumer electronics (86%), medical (84%), personal care (82%), and household product companies (80%).
Looking at ecommerce sales vs total sales, 82% of companies in group C are pushing sales incentives. That’s followed by companies in groups D (80%), B (72%), and A (50%).
Also, companies that depend more on ecommerce channels are more likely to protect online revenue from bad actors during this time, which makes sense. Fifty-three percent of group D said as much, followed by C (48%), B (36%), and A (34%).
Focusing on cybercrime prevention
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, cybercrime has grown more than any other criminal activity, a Europol report recently revealed. This would explain why sixty-eight percent of respondents overall said fighting cybercrime is important to them.
Additionally, companies in the following product categories placed more importance on fighting cybercrime:
- Medical (88%)
- Baby care products (86%)
- Packaged food and beverage (86%)
- Consumer electronics (82%)
- Toys and board games (80%)
The importance of cybercrime prevention is also highest for ecommerce-focused companies. Seventy-six percent of decision makers for group D said preventing cybercrime is very important, followed by groups C (75%), B (65%), and A (61%).
Companies in group D also saw more cybercrime as a result of COVID-19 than other companies. When asked how cybercrime has impacted their business after COVID-19, most respondents in this group said:
- Cybercrime damages their reputation (78%)
- Counterfeiters are stealing sales (71%)
- Market share is reduced because of unlawful players (64%)
Eighty-five percent of companies in this group also said they would maintain or increase anti-counterfeiting prevention if cybercrime continues.
Preparing for the future of ecommerce
Overall, 59% of respondents said they would invest more in ecommerce channels in the near future as a result of COVID-19. Companies in these categories are more likely to do this:
- Consumer electronics (78%)
- Packaged food and beverage (77%)
- Baby care products (75%)
- Personal care products (74%)
Many of these companies are preparing for the future of ecommerce after COVID-19. Because of the virus, people are ordering products online that they would have normally bought in a store. Some say it takes about two months for a new habit to form. In this situation, people have already had plenty of time to form new shopping habits that could stick beyond COVID-19.
Interestingly, companies in group A were most likely to invest more in ecommerce channels, with 65% of respondents saying so. That was followed by companies in groups D (61%), C (58%), and B (57%).
Also, how much a company sells online is directly related to the likelihood that a company will decrease offline presence because of COVID-19. Forty-six percent of group D will decrease offline presence, followed by:
- 41% of group C
- 24% of group B
- 19% of group A
Leveraging marketing spend for reputation
This recession is affecting everyone, but smart companies are using this time to push ahead and stay in the minds of their customers. The ones that can connect with shoppers now will be the ones that get their business once the economy enters a recovery.
Here’s how ecommerce decision makers are leveraging marketing spend to prepare for the future:
- Social ads (59%)
- Brand protection (54%)
- SEO and organic content (35%)
- Offline marketing (33%)
Brand protection is most important for companies in medical supplies (80%), consumer electronics (78%), toys and board games (73%) and baby care (70%).
According to the survey, companies that rely more on ecommerce also put more focus on brand protection. About 62% of decision makers in groups C and D said they will spend on brand protection, followed by group B (55%) and group A (46%).
While some businesses will remain closed after COVID-19, others could see huge growth. Looking over all the survey data, brands are preparing for the future of ecommerce by balancing cost management with progressive growth tactics such as investing in anti-counterfeiting solutions to prevent sales and brand erosion.