Impact of Coronavirus on eCommerce: Digital Traffic and Sales Remain Strong As Stores Reopen (Update 14)

Jean-Marc Bellaiche
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June 9, 2020
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Read Time: 3min

To provide understanding during this uncertain time, we are monitoring the impact of coronavirus on online consumer behaviors. See the latest data on our Covid-19 eCommerce Impact data hub.

Our analysts have been capturing and analyzing billions of digital visitor sessions over the past 15 weeks to bring experience makers up-to-date insight into online customer behavior. Our data spans industries, providing a fresh look at how the Coronavirus crisis has impacted various sectors. Each week we’ve compared traffic, transactions, and engagement metrics with data from the weeks gone by, and with metrics captured in the period immediately preceding the introduction of quarantine measures in the West (or, the first 6 weeks of the year, which we call the reference period). 

Here are some of the insights we surfaced this week:

eCommerce Traffic & Transactions Stabilize at High levels 

After phased reopenings in many countries and a couple of weeks of declining digital traffic across industries, the volume of visits barely budged this past week, suggesting we are perhaps entering a new phase of stabilization. Brands across sectors are seeing +15% more visits on average than before the crisis. The volume of transactions even grew by +1% last week from the previous week, with an average +37% more sales online than before the pandemic started. As more regions of the world start to ease lockdown measures and allos non-essential businesses to open their doors to the public once more, it is interesting to see that eCommerce retains a strong share of digital traffic/purchases. And visitor engagement is not waning, either. In fact, time per session was up +1.5% from the previous week, with engagement on the up since mid-May, following a sharp decline in customer engagement at the end of April.

Travel and Tourism Industry Slowly Climbing Back

It was another week of promising numbers for the travel and tourism industry, with a +21% increase in the volume of traffic this past week — the 6th week of growth in a row. And transactions jumped up +40%, confirming the trends of the past few weeks, as relaxed restrictions worldwide restore some aspects of life pre-Coronavirus. Our breakdown of data into sub-sectors confirms that when it comes to transactions, a significant portion of this growth is owed to consumer engagement with sites and brands specializing in domestic forms of travel (car rental, camping vacations, etc). Sites offering camping trips, in particular, saw their traffic jump by 40 points this past week — and while some of these gains are due to it being peak travel booking season, this is still a positive sign when compared to the much slower progress of other tourism sub-sectors. Cruises and airlines, for example, are struggling to take off and are still severly hurt with sales volume last week at -95% (cruises) and -85% (airlines) of the pre-crisis levels. Overall, the travel industry is still suffering from a significant loss of traffic and revenue, with -51% fewer visits than before the introduction of quarantine measures, and -53% fewer transactions. 

Luxury and Fashion Industries See Performance Slow Down

Traffic to luxury sites was slightly up after two weeks of decline, growing +2% this past week from the previous week, and leaving the sector just shy of its pre-Covid levels of digital traffic. Transactions however were down -2% from the previous week, although luxury brands are still seeing +22% more sales online than before the onset of the crisis (much less than the +42% growth recorded in mid-May). Engagement remains largely unchanged, with a slight +3% increase in the time per session from the previous week. Despite a slight increase in the UK and France, US luxury sites lost the most traffic this past week, and were also faring less well than their European counterparts in terms of transactions. 

It was not a strong week for the fashion industry, which saw sales dip by -9% from the previous week. Traffic was also down -8% this past week, although customer engagement was slightly up, with +2% more browsing time than the week before. In the US only, both traffic and transactions were down, marking the worst week for the industry since early April.

Impact of Covid-19 on eCommerce: Other Industry Ups and Downs

The financial services sector recorded a +3.5% increase in digital traffic this past week, on the heels of a +15% increase the past week, contributing to a +26% surge in visits since the start of lockdowns, as consumers get used to replacing branch banking with online money management. 

Meanwhile, retail healthcare sites recorded fewer visits and transactions this past week, marking the 4th week of declining customer engagement. It was a good week for consumer electronics retailers, who saw traffic and sales climb by +8% and +10% respectively this past week, contributing to an overall +66% surge in website transactions since March.

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Author

Jean-Marc Bellaiche

Jean-Marc is the Chief Marketing, Partnership & Strategy Officer. Prior to working at Contentsquare, he was a SVP Strategy and Business Development at Tiffany & Co from 2014 to 2018. Before that he was a Senior Partner at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) for 22 years, where he led the global luxury, beauty and fashion practice.