The Impact of Coronavirus on E-commerce, Marketing, Advertising

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Impact of Coronavirus

Last Updated: July 2024

Over the last two years, we have seen one of the biggest shifts in our lives. The The far-reaching impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has left no aspect untouched, from small brick-to-mortar shops or big corporates.

In this post, we have compiled statistics and findings by renowned researchers in the market, shedding light on the modified impact of coronavirus across various sectors of our economy.

Contents of this post are as follows:

Impact of Coronavirus on E-commerce

Experts predict doubling of website traffic (year-on-year) for supermarkets and pharmacies in the days leading up to Christmas

According to Yext’s search holidays trends, supermarkets and pharmacies could see a doubling in search traffic (Y-oY) in the rush to Christmas between 21st and 23rd December.

– Online grocery sales at 14% share of the overall market during the second lockdown

Statistics by Kantar revealed a record online grocer sale spike with early Christmas cheer in the UK. Throughout the month of November, take-home sales increased by 13.9% (Y-oY) as a result of restrictions imposed in the UK.

– Third-party sellers on Amazon saw a 60% growth year-on-year in Black Friday weekend sales

A blog post by About Amazon revealed that the 2020 holiday season become the biggest yet for the company due to the robust sales performance of Black Friday weekend including Cyber Monday. Black Friday promotions saw third-party sellers grow their sales by 60% year-on-year, surpassing $4.8 billion worldwide.

– US shopping app downloads slow to a 4% year-on-year growth in Q3 after a Q2 spike

Mobile retail trends report by Sensor Tower revealed that US shopping apps downloads slowed down to 4% year-on-year growth in Q3 following a spike in Q2. Across the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, total shopping apps downloads have surpassed 150 million in the US.

– Nearly half of the British consumers have had issues with parcel delivery since the March lockdown

47% of consumers in the UK reported they have had issues with parcel delivery since the first lockdown began in March, according to a report by Citizen Advice. Additionally, 51% of consumers said they feel reliant on having goods delivered to their homes.

– Asda gears up for a “record online Christmas” as it publishes Q3 results

Asda, one of the prominent British supermarket chains, reported Q3 2020 results including a 72% year-on-year increase in combined net sales of and

– Alibaba’s breaks records during ‘Singles Day’ sales event 

During one of the largest retail events in China – Singles Day, Alibaba achieved record sales of $74 billion. The event saw a 26% increase on the 2019’s event, helping the company establish a new high in terms of sales.

Also read: How To Explain A Late Delivery To A Customer In 9 Easy Steps?

– Burberry pre-tax profits fall 62% in H1

Burberry’s Interim results revealed that the pre-tax profits of the company fall by 62% in H1 2020. Total sales declined by 31% to 828 million thanks to spring lockdowns that forced brick-and-mortar shops to remain closed for several months.

– Pinduoduo’s MAUs increase by 74.6 million quarter-on-quarter in Q3

Chinese e-commerce platform – Pinduoduo saw an increase in monthly active users (MAUs) by 74.6 million in Q3 2020 compared to Q2 2020, making a new high of 643.4 million total users. Within 5 years of its introduction in the e-commerce industry, Pinduoduo has also become the first online shopping platform to surpass 700 million active buyers.

– Cross-border e-commerce sales expected to rise an average of 63% YoY across the festive season

The well-known e-commerce brand eShopWorld predicts that state global cross-border e-commerce sales could rise an average of 63% year-on-year throughout November and December. To be specific, eShopWorld says it expects e-commerce sales to rise 56% in November and rise to 70% in December, as consumers head to the holidays season.

– M&S posts a loss for the first time in 94 years

Renowned British retailers Mark and Spencer reported a record-breaking loss first time in the last 94 years. The financial report published by the company revealed a loss of 87.6 million pounds in the six months ending September 2020 compared to a 158.8 profit during the same period last year.

– Amazon sales up 37% year-on-year in Q3 2020

A press release published by revealed that Amazon’s revenue soared by 37% in Q3 Y-o-Y globally. The company made a total revenue of $99.1 billion beating the estimate of $92.7 billion. While Amazon’s net sales were up by 37% globally, the company’s North American net sales rose by 39%.

Furthermore, sales of its subscription services soared by 33% Y-o-Y, and AWS sales grew by 29%. Total profits grew by a whopping 200% to $6.3 billion in Q3 2020 compared to the same quarter in 2019, breaking Amazon’s previous high of $5.2 billion profit in Q2.

– Ebay’s Q3 revenue rises 25% year-on-year

Ebay also experienced a steep growth in its revenue during the third quarter this year. The financial statement published by Ebay revealed a growth in revenue by 25% to $2.61 billion in Q3 2020 compared to the same period last year.

Along with the growth in revenue, Ebay’s annual active buyers also grew by 5% to 183 million in total.

– Suburban and rural consumers drove the bulk of online grocery shopping growth during the spring peak of the pandemic

Research from GlobalWebIndex has confirmed that suburban and rural consumers helped drive the bulk of global online grocery shopping growth during the first peek of the pandemic in Q2 2020.

Pre-Covid, most consumers that took advantage of the convenience that online grocery shopping affords were millennials living in urban settings. From Q1 this year, those in the Gen Z and Boomer categories have developed more active shopping behaviors in this sector, particularly those that live outside of major population centers.

– ASOS UK sales up 18% year-on-year to Sept

ASOS UK sales have risen by 18% year-on-year to £1.18bn, according to the brand’s full-year financial statement ending August 31st, 2020. International retail markets, which include the European, US, and ROW regions, performed even higher at +20% during the same period.

The statement also revealed that the company has seen a 3.1 million rise in its active customer base, which now totals 23.4 million across the world, reflecting increased brand engagement spurred on by the pandemic.

– International online sales of luxury goods increased by 170% year-on-year in August and September

International online sales of luxury goods increased by 170% year-on-year in August and September, according to an analysis from eShopWorld.

As retail begins its slow recovery on a global scale, the cross-border luxury market appears to be faring well following sales performance in July that was 40% above those seen in the lead up to Christmas last year (a period which is usually the strongest in the calendar alongside new year discounts).

– Tesco’s pre-tax profit surges 28.7% year-on-year

Tesco’s 2020/21 interim results have indicated a 28.7% year-on-year surge in pre-tax profits for the company in what has been a landmark year for the grocery sector.

Food sales rose by 9.2% in the 26 weeks to the end of August, but interest in its clothing line F&F fell, resulting in a 17.2% drop in sales for this category. Average basket size in large stores grew by 56%. Unsurprisingly, fuel sales fell by 42% in 2019 as the general public was encouraged to stay at home throughout national lockdown in spring and early summer. The brand also said it had so far spent £533 million on Covid-19 safety measures for its staff and customers throughout the pandemic.

– Ocado named 2020’s fastest-growing UK brand

BrandZ has named grocery chain Ocado as the UK’s fastest-growing brand in its annual Top 75 Most Valuable Brands report.

The company jumped 16 places in the Top 75 list this year, following a 63.3% growth in brand value change since 2019, settling at number 18. Its online-only formula, unlike other brands in the sector which also have brick-and-mortar stores, places it in an excellent position for growth through digital innovation. According to the report, demand for its services during the peak of the pandemic was at 10 times its usual level for the time of year.

Impact of Coronavirus on Retail

– Global retail e-commerce will total $3.9 trillion by the end of 2020

Data from GroupM, released in December, predicts global retail e-commerce, including automotive but excluding food and delivery services, will total $3.9 trillion by the end of 2020 – equating to 17% of all retail sales. In China, these online sales will rise to 25% of the entire retail market in the region.

– 72% of British shoppers think that retailers should offer more promotions in a time of financial uncertainty

Seventy-two percent of British shoppers think that retailers should offer more promotions in a time of financial uncertainty, such as the pandemic, according to a December report from XCCommerce, ‘Promotion at the speed of customer demand’.

– UK footfall down 29% year-on-year as non-essential shops reopen in England

The Retail Gazette reports ShopperTrak’s findings that UK footfall on the first Saturday after England’s national lockdown was lifted (5th December) was still down 29% year-on-year, even though week-on-week shopper traffic increased 193%.

Despite Christmas edging nearer, and reports showing packed high streets in central London and other key retail locations, it appears consumers are remaining cautious about venturing in-store during the busiest shopping period of the year.

– 61% of fashion retailers say they are planning to reduce the number of SKUs in their inventories

The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the fashion industry, particularly in-store, has led to a significant amount of leftover stock and periods of heavy discounting by retailers as they try to shift it, greatly affecting overall revenue.

A December report from Business of Fashion and McKinsey observes the ways fashion retailers are making fundamental changes to their strategies going into 2021 to resolve the issues that have been brought to light more plainly than ever before.

– Crowded stores and long checkout queues among top concerns for UK customers Christmas shopping in-store

An Aptos survey of 2000 UK consumers has found the top concern for in-store shoppers during the Golden Quarter (November to January) is that stores will be too crowded (74%).

This is followed by concerns about long checkout queues (69%) and a lack of social distancing measures (68%). However, nearly half (49%) say that if satisfactory precautions are put in place to prevent these issues, they would be willing to visit brick-and-mortar shops during this period.

– UK retailers see a 23% increase in online store sales this Black Friday, YoY

Analysis from Nosto has found UK sales in online stores soared 23% this Black Friday. This was accompanied by a 35% rise in online store visits and a 2% increase in conversion rates compared to numbers from the same event in 2019.

However, there was a 4% decline in average order value, likely due to heavier discounting than usual to get consumers to part with their cash amid financial uncertainty.

– US holiday spending boost could be as low as 15% this year

A boost in US retail spending that occurs every autumn/winter season could be lower compared to past years.

During the festive season, spendings in the US experience a boost of 40% on average normally, as consumers prepare for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holidays that fall in the last quarter. But thanks to the pandemic, and a weaker economy

– Two in five Brits plan to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Despite the national lockdown in England, two out of five (40%) Brits are planning to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, according to a YouGov survey from 25th November. This figure rises to 58% of those aged between 18 and 24 and 51% of 25-49 year olds. One in six are still unsure as to whether or not they will take part.

– UK October retail sales up 5.8% year-on-year as the second lockdown loomed

ONS data found a 5.8% growth in the volume of retail sales in October compared to the same month a year before. Retail sales volume also increased by 1.2% in September, continuing the industry’s trend of steady recovery seen over the last six months.

– 67% of UK consumers say they’ll spend the same or more this Christmas

A September study of over 1000 UK consumers, conducted by Quantcast, has found 67% plan to spend the same or more money than usual on Christmas this year. This is despite some 37% of respondents experiencing increased personal financial instability as a result of Covid-19.

– Footfall down 3.5% in shopping centers in the week to October 17th as local lockdowns are enforced

The number of shoppers traveling to physical UK retail destinations has fallen for a fourth consecutive week, according to data from customer activity specialist Springboard, reported on by Reuters. Further local lockdown restrictions have been enforced to subdue a second wave of the coronavirus this coming winter, which in some cases includes closing pubs and restaurants in, particularly badly-affected areas, providing consumers with even fewer reasons to visit town centers and shopping complexes.

In the week to the 17th October, footfall on UK high streets and retail parks fell by 2.8% and 3% respectively on figures from the week before. However, it was shopping centers that fared the worst, seeing a 3.5% decline during this period.

– MiQ predicts a 17% year-on-year fall in UK retail sales in Q4 2020

In October, programmatic media company MiQ predicted a 17% year-on-year fall in UK retail sales in 2020’s Golden Quarter, amounting to a 2% increase in sales when compared with Q2 2020, if partial lockdowns and restricted mobility remain the same throughout Q4 as they were in Q3.

Impact of Coronavirus on Marketing and Advertising

– 25% of brands will see ‘statistically significant advances’ to their CX quality in 2021

Twenty-five percent of brands will see ‘statistically significant’ advances to their CX quality next year, despite budget cuts, thanks to increasingly improving customer experience competencies on the back of short-term fixes generated at the peak of the coronavirus outbreak.

– Poor customer service could cost UK businesses £1.9 billion this festive season

Research conducted by Signavio this December reveals that poor customer service could cost UK businesses £1.9 billion over the festive season. It predicts that UK brands could expect to receive 189 million phone calls, 193 million emails, and 160 million letters this Christmastime as customers ask for help with their purchases.

– 80% of brands do not have a loyalty program in their marketing strategy

Despite droves of online shoppers switching between brands this year, as many as 80% of organizations still do not have loyalty programs integrated into their marketing strategies, October research from Dotdigital confirms.

– Global ad spend predicted to fall 10.2% year-on-year in 2020

In a November report, WARC predicts that global ad spend will fall 10.2% to $557.3 billion in 2020 compared to results from 2019. The ongoing fallout from the pandemic has meant that traditional media has had its worst year on record and this has had an enormous effect on the industry as a whole.

– Video game industry ad spend rose 80% year-on-year in the first two weeks of November

The video game industry spent more than $45 million in ad spend over the first two weeks of November this year; a rise of 80% year-on-year, according to ad sales intelligence company MediaRadar.

– ITV reports a 7% year-on-year drop in ad spend for Q3

ITV has reported that its ad spending improved in Q3 after the first wave of the coronavirus caused a significant 43% decline in the broadcaster’s ad revenue throughout Q2.

In the third quarter, total ad spend was down by 7% year-on-year.

– 2021 projected UK ad spend growth revised down

Data from the latest Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report has predicted that ad spending recovery in the UK next year could be slower than originally expected. The previous estimate of a 16.6% return-to-growth in the sector throughout 2021, presented back in July, has therefore been revised down to 14.4%.

– UK digital ad spend fell 5% year-on-year in H1 2020

Research from IAB UK, as reported by WARC, has found that UK digital ad spend fell by 5% in H1 2020 compared with figures from the first half of 2019.

– 44% of online publishers expect traffic to exceed pre-Covid levels this festive period

Further data from Rakuten Advertising’s ‘The Road to Recovery’ report (using responses from June/July) has found 44% of online publishers expect traffic this festive period to exceed that of pre-Covid levels.

– US political ad spend will help the US ad market to only a 2% decline

Media research company MAGNA Global predicts that US political TV ad spending during the second half of 2020 will help to stabilize the volatile ad market in the region. According to its findings, US ad spend is expected to decline by 2% year-on-year in H2 2020.

– 64% of marketers believe language is more important than ever in marketing communications

Survey results from hundreds of senior marketers, conducted by Phrasee and published in September, have thrown the importance of the language used in marketing communications into the spotlight amid Covid-19.

Sixty-four percent agreed that ‘language has never been more important in helping a brand connect with its customers than it is today, making it a top priority in the marketing leadership agenda.

– Global mobile ad spend soared 71% in Q2

PubMatic’s Mobile Quarterly Index found that mobile ad spend soared 71% year-on-year during Q2, rising to 77% in the Americas, as spending across other areas was slashed.

– JC Decaux revenue down 63% in Q2 2020

In its most recent financial statement, JC Decaux stated its revenue plummeted by 63.4% in the second quarter of 2020, a figure it claimed was ‘historic’ for the company.

Impact of Coronavirus on Social Media

– Instagram’s advertising reach increased by 7.1%

As per a report – Social Trends 2021, Instagram’s advertising reach increased by 7.1% between July and September this year, more than three times that of Facebook’s, which saw a 2.2% growth. Despite this, Facebook is viewed by 78% of brands as the most effective way of achieving business targets.

– Brand interest in influencers has increased due to Covid-19

HypeAuditor, an AI analytics platform that promotes transparency in influencer marketing, surveyed nearly 1,000 global social media influencers and brands to find that 59% of influencers have seen more brands wanting to partner with them since the outbreak of Covid-19, with 50% of brands having allocated more budget to influencer marketing since the pandemic began.

– Tencent reports an 89% rise in profit for Q3

Tencent, creator which owns mobile platforms WeChat and QQ, as well as several best-selling browser and mobile games, appears to be reaping the benefits of the video gaming boom that has come about as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In a financial statement, the Chinese company said it had seen an 89% rise in profit in the three months through September and made a total of 125 billion yuan (the US $18.4 billion) in revenue.

– Twitter’s ad revenue returned to growth in Q3 2020, up 15% year-on-year

Following a 23% decline in Q2 2020, Twitter’s ad revenue returned to a 15% year-on-year growth throughout Q3, totaling $808 million, according to its financial statement.

– Global social ad spend rises 56.4% quarter-on-quarter in Q3 2020

SocialBakers’ Q3 2020 Social Media Trends Report has found that global social ad spend rose 56.4% in Q3 2020 compared with figures recorded at the end of Q2. This figure increases to 61.7% in North America, with the widespread Facebook ad boycott in this and other regions throughout Q2 partly responsible for the sharp upturn in Q3.

– Facebook ad revenue rose 22% year-on-year in Q3 2020

Facebook has announced its earnings for the third quarter of 2020, in which ad revenue rose 22% year-on-year to $21.2 billion. This is much larger growth than the 10% year-on-year growth reported in Q2, which was affected by a decrease in ad spending from financial uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and the Facebook ad boycott.

– One in four online purchases are now made via an interaction with a social media platform

Analysis commissioned by Visa, which studied shopping habits over the six months to October, has found that one in four online purchases in the UK is now made as a result of interacting with a social media platform.

– 17 million UK social media users now spend 66 minutes or more per day on TikTok

Internal data from TikTok, as seen and reported by Bloomberg in September, suggests 17 million UK consumers now spend 66 minutes on the app per day on average, opening it on their mobile devices 13 times in every 24 hour period.

– TikTok reveals more than a 181m growth in global MAUs throughout H1 2020

TikTok divulged its user growth for the first time in late August as it filed a lawsuit against the US government over its potential banning in the region, CNBC has reported.

The figures revealed that its global user base reached nearly 700m monthly active users (MAUs) in July 2020, a 181m growth since December last year. It is estimated more than 100m of those are based in the US.

Impact of Coronavirus on Workplace

– The number of global small businesses that remained closed in October was 15% up year-on-year

Facebook’s latest Global State of Small Business Report, published in December, has found that the number of small businesses that remained closed throughout October as a result of the pandemic was up 15% year-on-year.

– 46% of freelancers in the UK say they are no longer constrained by the location of clients

Forty-six percent of media, marketing, and advertising freelancers say they are no longer constrained by the location of their clients, thanks to recent advances in remote working, according to research from Worksome, published in December.

– 97% of event marketers believe hybrid events are the future

Bizzabo’s Evolution of Events Report, published on 13th November and based on a survey of almost 400 event and marketing professionals, found that 97% of event marketers believe hybrid events are the future.

– 51% of UK marketers say they have lost in-house digital talent as a result of Covid-19

A September report from Serpico by Croud suggests that 51% of UK marketers have lost in-house digital talent as a result of Covid-19. Fifty-seven percent of these losses came from redundancy, 43% from furlough, and 35% from those who had resigned from their roles since March.

– 57% of British workers want to continue working from home after the Covid-19 crisis subsides

Fifty-seven percent of British workers say they’d like to continue working from home, some or all of the time, once the Covid-19 crisis subsides, data from YouGov, collected in early September, has found.

– Zoom has reported a 355% year-on-year rise in quarterly revenue during Q2

Video conferencing platform Zoom released its Q2 2020 financial results at the end of August, revealing that revenues were up 355% in the same quarter in 2019. Meanwhile, profit over this period rose to $185.7 million compared to $5.5m the year before.

The Impact of Coronavirus on Entertainment

– US daytime TV consumption by professionals working from home rose 21% year-on-year in October

Insight from Nielsen indicates that US daytime TV consumption has climbed since workers have become accustomed to working mostly from home.

In October alone, there was a 21% increase in time professionals spent watching TV (either live, time-shifted, via any internet-connected device, or on a game console) between 9 am and 4 pm – the equivalent of 26 more minutes per day than in the same month in 2019.

– Netflix obtains just 2.2 million new subscribers in Q3, a more than 67% decrease on the same quarter in 2019

After a very strong performance in Q1 and Q2, which resulted in a total of more than 17 million new subscribers, Netflix obtained just 2.2 million new subscribers in Q3, it has said in a statement.

– 58% of entertainment industry senior executives are confident in their business performance in H2 2020

WARC reports findings from live entertainment company Branded, which suggest 58% of senior executives in the entertainment industry are confident in their business performance over H2 2020.

– Mobile app downloads rose 31.7% year-on-year in Q2

The number of apps downloaded globally across the App Store and Google Play in Q2 rose by 31.7% year-on-year in Q2 2020 to 37.8 billion, a report from Sensortower has confirmed. Video conferencing app Zoom was the most downloaded app worldwide between April and June, beating TikTok which ranked second.

– Disney loses $4.7bn in revenue during Q2, but Disney+ subscribers soar

Disney reported a $4.7bn drop in revenue for the quarter ending June, but Ofcom data has shown rapid uptake in its streaming service Disney+ thanks to Covid-19.

The Impact of Coronavirus on Employment

– 3-digit growth in Google searches for Digital Marketing Courses

New data from SEMrush shows the number of global Google searches for the term ‘online digital marketing courses’ grew 110% (rounded) in the period February-July 2020 compared with numbers from August 2019-January 2020.

The figure rises to 132% in the UK, suggesting a large proportion of the workforce in the sector were looking to improve their digital marketing skills over lockdown.

– 9% of marketers have been made redundant since the coronavirus outbreak began

Q3 research from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has confirmed nine percent of global marketers have been made redundant since the coronavirus outbreak began, Campaign reports.

One in five marketers have had to take a pay cut during the pandemic, while 17.5% were required to give up any annual leave, and a further 17% said they had been furloughed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

– Centre for Retail Research estimates 125,000 UK retail jobs have been lost in the first eight months of 2020

Amid economic uncertainty and wavering instore footfall, new data from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR), reported by The Guardian, estimates almost 125,000 UK retail jobs were lost in the first eight months of 2020.

– 46% of UK marketers ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ worried for their jobs

Nearly half of UK marketers are worried about their jobs, according to a June survey conducted by YouGov.

In a study of 1178 marketers, 16% said they were ‘very worried’ that they will lose their job as a result of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, while an additional 30% said they were ‘fairly worried’. Just 15% of marketers claimed they were ‘not at all worried about their job security, compared to 27% of other workers.

– Chinese economy grows by 3.2% in Q2 after a record Q1 slump

China’s economy grew by 3.2% in the second quarter of this year, following a record slump of -6.8% in Q1, the BBC has stated. Overall Chinese economic growth for H1 was measured at -1.6%, according to its National Bureau for Statistics.



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