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E-COMMERCE AT THE TIME OF COVID-19

by Tamás Molnár, április 15, 2020
It is encouraging that, based on data from the last 14 days, both revenue and the number of orders are clearly increasing among pure and non-pure e-commerce players, and in the first days of April, revenues are already showing distinctly positive values ​​compared to the same period in 2019. So the target groups have moved towards online shopping.
Magyarországi e-commerce forgalom 2020. Q1-ben

How is the e-commerce sector doing in Hungary, in our immediate neighbors, in Europe or worldwide? As we hear and see, some sectors are collapsing, and in the meantime others’ are having an unpredicted growth. As the picture is pretty mixed, we tried to go after the situation with the help of ccinsight.org, where Emarsys and GoodData are working together to find the answers of how the coronavirus epidemic affects online orders and company revenues by country. You can read about the amount of data and the collection methodology here. It’s very informative.

What’s up in Hungary?

The year-over-year growth rate of pure e-commerce and online retailers, based on theor performance in the last 7 days, compared to the same period last year. Inquiry of 04.04.2020. Source: ccinsights.org

As we can say in general, after a moderate January, February developed positively, and in March, the epidemic hit us in this situation. For online-only sellers, March cleary shown a drop in both revenue and order numbers.

Pure online sales and order numbers – 2020, Q1

Certainly, one of the reasons for this is to be found there, that a significant proportion of transactions have been passed on to their competitors, who have been stronger in offline sales so far –for example through their extensive store network.

Retail turnover (except pure online), online activity, order numbers 2020. Q1

This is also due to natural and consciusly shaped processes, on the one hand, due to the restriction of access and the closure of shops, the target groups themselves are looking for online opportunities ; and on the other hand, those who reacted fast, are emphasizing webshop opportunities in their own communication and from offline budget, they were able to significantly regroup money to the online direction, further generating demand for the online channels.

It is encouraging that, based on data from the last 14 days, both revenue and the number of orders are clearly increasing among pure and non-pure e-commerce players, and in the first days of April, revenues are already showing distinctly positive values ​​compared to the same period in 2019. So the target groups have moved towards online shopping.

Turnover of purely online sales web stores in the last 14 days. 2020. Q1.

It will be really exciting to see the companies reactions, to see how judicious and flexible they will be, how much they will be able to break away from their annual budget, campaign planning and their will of searching for more effective channels.

As well, it all depends on the general economic situation, the evolution of the number of the unemployed, the accumulated (or not accumulated) savings. So the timing and the content of economic rescue packages will also play a big role in the development of the upcoming months.

And the neighbours?

It is worth playing with the graphs on the website to go deeper in details, but in general we can say, in March:

In Romania, the numbers are clearly weaker than last year, and in many cases we can observe complete collapsing.

Austria is light years ahead of us, for purely e-commerce operators, doubling is not exaggerated compared to last year; but strong, offline traders are also showing great numbers.

  • In Slovakia, especially e-commerce traders’ trends are heading in the similar direction to the hungarian one, altough with weaker numbers.

It is important of course, to distinguish the stages of the outbreak in the countries, and what measures have been introduced by the given states.

What do our own measurements show?

Our own experience also shows that while there are sectors that nearly shut down, there are also a number of areas which is gaining a lot more visitors, has more orders, and their customers has greater willingness to shop online, similar to periods like Black Friday and Christmas.

68% conversion rate increase to Q1, based on year/year, in the webshop of a store chain with both online and offline presence, with the same budget. Source: Google Ads account managed by Eazy Digital.
50% revenue growth for Q1, based on year/year, in a webshop with an online presence only. Source: Google Ads account managed by Eazy Digital.
36% visitor growth for Q1, based on year/year, in the webshop of a store chain with both online and offline presence, without additional campaigns. Source: Google Analytics account managed by Eazy Digital.

What is going to happen when the epidemic subsides?

We can be sure in two things: on the one hand, we do not know exactly when this whole madness will end, and on the other hand, the order of the world will not return overnight: loosening of restrictions/prohibitions will happen gradually.

Month by monthy, week by week, it will get better and freedom will come again. Probably, life will no longer be like as it was before, neither globally nor in our small country. Is it going to be good? Is it going to be bad? History will decide.

However, we are convinced that in the long run this is a huge OPPORTUNITY for online players: although out of compulsion, the digital world has now opened up to many people. We can see further than the spreading of credit card payment, home office, e-learning, video chat or the increasing usage of food ordering apps. Merchants can also get to another level in the e-commerce sector.

People ordering online were previously mistrustful and uncertain in this environment. New users are on the horizon, in almost all sectors.

They put their feet in the door, let's not slap it on them, instead - lead them in. Give them good experience, let their first thoughts be positive.

Finding opportunities of new online presence and UX-UI optimization has never been more important, than it is now.

From the medium to long term, full e-commerce could benefit very well from the current situation if you’re NOW preparing well and developing your processes.

So, have your Analytics measurements set up well, let the data, A/B tests, heatmap analyzes flow, and build your brand! This is not time to fall behind!

If you’re feeling like your website could use some review, and it would be nice to see through the data and to map your site’s strenghts and weaknesses, get in touch with us. The EAZY Digital team is always in for a good audit!

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