Covid-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on every aspect of people’s life, including how people shop. New patterns in customers’ behavior have led to the rise of eCommerce industries that haven’t been trending so far.
Businesses need to shift quickly to serve their customers better. Buyers now prioritize their goods differently. Due to social distancing, it doesn’t come as a surprise that online sales of some products have risen dramatically.
Research by Stackline has analyzed online sales in the US for March and have compared the results sharing interesting insights about the bestselling items.
Can you guess which are the most popular eCommerce product categories at the moment?
- Health products (sanitizers, gloves)
- Bread machines
- Cough and cold
- Packaged foods
- Fitness, weight and training equipment
- Computer monitors
- Office desks
Since various companies have adopted remote-working models people had to make sure they could work comfortably from home. But there is more. Striving to keep their physical and mental health, consumers have now been ordering fitness equipment so they can workout at home.
Let’s dive deeper and examine eight online industries that are quite trending right now.
1. Grocery eCommerce
Lots of supermarkets and retailers had to close, so people have been forced to try new approaches when buying groceries.
The online grocery market has been growing for the past few years. According to Business Insider, its market value doubled from 2016 to 2018.
This year shopping online is even more popular due to the fact that most people prefer to stay safe and order groceries from home. This has led to many people experiencing for the very first time how to shop online.
We might even say the online grocery shopping trend will keep growing even after the lockdown. Since there has been such high demand, grocery stores and restaurants are adapting and offer better customer service.
2. Delivery Services
For the past few years, people feel more and more comfortable ordering online. Delivery is the second-highest factor influencing purchasing decisions, right after product quality. “Free shipping” or “Discount on shipping” are magic words for customers shopping online.
Due to the Covid-19 and the rise of online shopping, delivery services see an even faster increase of orders. They even fail to handle all the purchase requests in a timely manner. For instance, Amazon had to hire 175,000 additional employees to respond to the customers’ needs.
It’s quite inspiring how technology provides different kinds of solutions in this industry in order to respond to the market’s needs.
Companies like Uber have introduced two new delivery services – Uber Direct and Uber Connect. The Direct service is a delivery platform for retail items, while Connect is a peer-to-peer service for sending goods to family or friends.
The taxi industry is also adapting to current market needs. Some countries like Singapore have gotten quite creative including hiring taxi drivers from different companies for their delivery business.
This move has killed two birds with one stone because it helped the affected taxi industry and has supported the overwhelmed delivery companies.
What innovation in delivery we are witnessing?
- BOPIS or buy-online-pick-up-in-store
- Curbside delivery
- Non-contact delivery
- Drone delivery
- Personal shopping
3. Safety Products
The pandemic has affected humankind in an unprecedented way – and personal safety has quickly risen to the top of everyone’s priority list.
- According to Nielsen, the sales of sanitizers went up 73% and medical masks are up 319% since February.
- In March 2020 consumers ordered disposable gloves 670% more than March 2019.
Companies are fighting against the spread of the virus by responding to the high demand. Amazon has announced its focus on high-priority items such as medical supplies and household staples to help customers stay safe.
4. Home Products and Furniture
Data by ACI Worldwide states that there has been an increase in online purchases for home products and furnishing. Since people are preparing to spend more time at home they are willing to create cozy spaces where they can work and rest.
As per CCInsights.org customers order 275% more barbecues and hammocks in the UK.
5. Subscription Services
Since people are spending more time at home they are experimenting with different subscription services. Some companies offer subscriptions for free, others at a discounted price.
Let’s share the trending subscription segments according to the Subscription economy index report published by Zuora.
Video streaming companies grew 7x in March 2020 compared with the previous year. Video streaming has become quite an important service as it’s essential for various services to continue operating. Several small businesses have even launched their own streaming services in response to their customer’s needs.
Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, Apple TV+ are on a rise. As an answer to the competitors Disney has also launched its new streaming service.
Digital News and Media
Digital news and media subscriptions have tripled. More than ever people want to be informed and stay on top of things.
As a consequence, the majority of stay-at-home consumers have been subscribing to new digital services and newspapers in order to keep track of the changing day-by-day news.
One of the key tactics that encourage customers to pay for subscriptions is discounted prices or flexibility. For instance, Wired has offered discounted subscriptions plus it has made the Covid-19 news free to readers.
The director Scott Rosenfield confirmed the significant increase in the subscriber growth with 73% more unique visitors to Wired.com.
Online learning has grown 2.9x according to the report. Since schools and universities are closed, this is the only way students get an education.
The CEO of Coursera Jeff Maggioncalda shared with Yahoo Finance’s On the Move that the demand for online education platforms is shaping the future of education systems. The CEO says:
We’re seeing a huge acceleration in something that’s already been happening, which is a move towards online education. When things get to a new normal, certainly people will go back to school, but it will never be the same.
Communication software has become essential for businesses that adopted the remote working model. Otherwise, communication would be impossible and companies would be facing serious difficulties.
Different software has different features to help teams work smoothly. You can share screens, send files, host online meetings, integrate other tools, etc.
Some famous communication software is:
- Zoom for video sharing
- Google Hangouts
- Cisco Webex teams
6. Products and Services to Promote a Better Sense of Wellbeing
Staying at home and staying in shape is definitely a mantra followed by many customers. Even though the sports centers are closed people continue to spend money on different sports activities.
In fact, gyms owners found a way to cope with that by streaming and building platforms for online workouts. This way they don’t lose memberships or money.
Moreover, people are spending a huge amount of money on ordering sports equipment according to Stackline. The report shows an increase in sales with 307% comparing March 2019 and March 2020.
Different fitness companies reported amazing data on their subscriptions:
- Beachbody has experienced 200% growth in subscribers (approximately 1.5 million subscribers) since shifting to online classes.
- Tonal is a home workout system that tripled its sales at the end of March.
- Peloton, a cardio platform is an interesting case. Even though they had to cancel countless treadmill orders because they required in-home installation their stocks have skyrocketed nearly 50% over the past month. People continue subscribing to their online cardio classes.
7. Gaming and Entertainment Industry
It seems people are not only trying to stay in shape but also entertained. Statista reported an increase from March 16 to March 22, of a total of 1.58 million physical games sold worldwide. Compared to the week before this is 82% more. Reports show an increase in sales in digital games and consoles.
Not surprisingly, Sony has made an amazing contribution to preventing further spending of the virus. The company has launched a few initiatives to make sure gamers stay entertained and at home.
Sony has given out free games and started the “Play at Home Initiative” where the company will give away two PS4 games. They also have supported independent developers so that they can continue creating awesome games.
8. Online Payments
Online and contactless payments have played a massive role in preventing the spread of the virus. Online transactions are an essential part of the whole online shopping process. Global eCommerce transactions were up 23% in mid-March.
While people have been purchasing more online the online scams have been on the rise significantly. Google Safety Center shared tips to help customers avoid these scams and feel safe paying online:
- Check your email carefully and report suspicious messages.
- Don’t share any personal or financial information.
- Add a 2-step verification.
- If you want to donate – go to the official website of the respective organization.
Companies like PayPal and Revolut shared messages on their website about how they are helping their customers during the pandemic situation. They are relying on:
- 24/7 customer service
- Supporting businesses and governments
- Enabling donations
- Waiving fees on transfers
The world is adapting to the new changes. Customers and businesses are coping with the everyday struggles due to the pandemic. Some of the online industries, such as delivery services and online grocery shopping have seen a definite increase over the past few months.
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