Impact of Coronavirus on eCommerce: Sales and Conversion Rate Remain Strong, Even as Traffic Drops (Update 17)


Jean-Marc Bellaiche

July 16, 2020 | 3 min read

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.

While the last few weeks have brought promising news of businesses reopening, a resurgence of coronavirus cases in the United States and Europe have only added to the existing uncertainty. Not to mention, over the next few weeks, many companies will be presenting their Q2 earnings reports, which will give the world a better understanding of how Covid-19 has impacted businesses so far. Until then, we at Contentsquare have been tracking how Covid-19 has impacted businesses and digital customer behavior.

Over the last seven months, our team has been pouring over 10 billion user sessions to measure the impact of the pandemic on different industries. Each week, we compare traffic, transactions, and engagement data with our reference period—the first six weeks of 2020, before the beginning of social distancing and quarantining in the West—to see the current state of digital business. 

Here’s what we found for the week of July 6-12: 

Transactions and Conversion Rate Remain Strong Even as Brands Experience Lighter Traffic

Global traffic, transactions, and conversion rate dipped last week, but remain strong compared to pre-Covid figures. In the past week, traffic and transactions, which have been in steady decline since May, continued to drop by -3.7% and -5.9% respectively. Similarly, conversion rate decreased by -2.6% week over week. 

That said, this week’s data proves strong compared to pre-Covid numbers. While traffic is back at pre-Covid levels, both transactions and conversion rate remain much higher. The volume of digital transactions is up 19.1% since the start of the crisis, and conversion rate boasts an impressive 21.6% increase. Twenty-four weeks into our monitoring, some industries received 83.4% more transactions than they had five months ago. As we continue to investigate how Covid-19 has impacted businesses, this resilience of online conversions despite store re-openings could suggest that consumer habits are changing and eCommerce could be gaining long-term market share.

Digital Businesses across The World Experience Rising Transactions

While the last few weeks have brought some consumer optimism, the rising number of global coronavirus cases and renewed shutdown concerns are again giving customers and businesses pause. As such, most countries saw decreases in traffic, transactions and conversion rate. The United States, riding on the tailwinds of its national holiday promotions, was the only country to experience a small positive bump in traffic and transactions. 

Across the pond, Europe experienced significant drops in digital engagement across the board. Most notably, the U.K. saw a -8.3% decrease in traffic and -11.8% decrease in transactions, even as the country began reopening pubs and requiring customers to wear face coverings in shops and supermarkets. Supermarkets, home furniture, and cosmetics continue to be top performers in both traffic and transactions in the U.K. With online grocery stores bringing in 109.7% more visits and 218.2% more purchases than they were prior to shutdown.  

Though less extreme than Britain, France and Germany saw similar week over week results. French businesses saw -6.4% fewer visits than the previous week and -7.4% fewer transactions. Germany experienced a small dip in traffic, but -5.8% decrease in transactions and a -3.8% drop conversion rate.

Global Overview of Digital Engagement for July 6-12, Compared to The Previous Week

Global U.S. Great Britain France Germany
Traffic -3.7% +2.4% -8.3% -6.4% -2.3%
Time on Page -0.8% +0.9% -1.7% -1.6% +0.1%
Transactions +19.1% +3.2% -11.8% -7.3% -5.8%
Conversion rate +21.6% -0.6% -3.8% -0.8% -3.8%


Even though weekly numbers are trending negative, countries have seen increased sales and conversion rates that outperform pre-Covid levels. As you can see in the chart below, most countries have seen transactions and conversion rates increase as much as 35%. Curiously, most countries did not see simultaneous spikes in site visits, rather the opposite. 

Global Overview of Digital Engagement for July 6-12, Compared to Pre-Covid Data

Global U.S. Great Britain France Germany
Traffic -1.7% +5.3% +0.8%  -11.5% -10.6%
Time on Page -3.3% +2.8% -10.6%  -4.1% -4.3%
Transactions +19.1% +21.7% +35.4%  +8.2% +13.4%
Conversion rate +21.6% +22.6% +35.6% +22.2% +28.1%


As we continue to measure how Covid-19 has impacted businesses, this dip in traffic could be due to customers being more intentional with their visits and purchases. While periods of high traffic paired with high transactions can be attributed to more digital activity, that’s not what we’re seeing across the globe. Instead, low traffic and more sales could imply a real reliance on digital. Consumers seem to be embracing the convenience of buying online as safety concerns and re-opening pauses mean they can’t depend on in-person stores for purchases. 

To keep up with ever-changing consumer concerns and government regulations, more and more businesses are investing in their online presence and prioritizing digital customer experience. But to build the best experience for your customers, you need access to powerful metrics that give you insight into their behavior and help you make informed decisions. Don’t let your online experience fall behind. 

Click here to see how Contentsquare can help your company create a data-rich approach to digital problem-solving.