E-Commerce in the Pandemic

How the Pandemic Created and Continues to Create Explosive Growth in E-Commerce

Now that it has been over a year since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it might be starting to feel like the way we live life now is the only way we ever lived. But if you take a moment to think back to when the first lockdowns began—in March and April 2020 for many US, Canadian, and European residents—life has changed in many ways. Some of those changes require small daily actions, like wearing a face mask in public places. Others have affected entire industries, like the absence of in-person concerts, sporting events, and other performances.

As you think about what changed most in those early days of the COVID pandemic, your mind might gloss over one shift that certainly affected you and just about everyone else in the country: online shopping. In most areas, non-essential stores closed down. Restaurants closed for dine-in services and offered only pick-up or delivery. Essential stores, like pharmacies and grocery stores, reduced their hours, enforced (then new) guidelines like social distancing, and began offering more pick-up and delivery options. And what did the general population do? They shopped online more than ever before!

Recent statistics from the UK highlight the way e-commerce has grown in the past year. Here are a few remarkable statistics that illustrate the explosive way e-commerce has expanded since April 2020. (Many of these statistics are taken from the UK, but they are noteworthy even if your business is located in another country.)

  • UK January online retail sales grew 74 percent year-on-year. That is the largest rate of growth since the pandemic began in March 2020.
  • Of all retail sales in January 2021, online sales accounted for a record 35.2 percent.
  • Since the pandemic began, 46 percent of consumers in the UK purchased a product online that they had previously only purchased in-store. This highlights the huge opportunity for many industries that traditionally focus on in-person sales, like audiology, to “jump on the bandwagon” of e-commerce.
  • By 2025, global consumer mobile spending is expected to reach $270 billion. The pandemic increased mobile activity, which underlines the importance of having e-commerce options that work just as well on mobile devices as on laptops and desktop computers.
  • Cross-border e-commerce sales grew by 82 percent year-on-year in 2020. This shows that many people are looking internationally to find what they need. Small thinking will not benefit you in this e-commerce boom—your customers can be located all over the world!
  • In Q1 2020, US e-commerce penetration accelerated 10 years in 90 days. This intense acceleration illustrates the necessity of e-commerce, both for businesses and consumers.
  • 61 percent of fashion retailers say they are planning to reduce the number of SKUs in their inventory. You do not need to offer the widest variety of items via e-commerce; you only need to offer the ones your customers will buy. Using analytic tools can help you ensure you are offering the products your customers are looking for.
  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, buy-now-pay-later firms have seen a rise in interest and use of their services. Consider offering flexible payment options for your customers to accommodate their needs.

All of these statistics can be summed up in a single sentence: e-commerce is an immense opportunity that you simply cannot pass up—as a business or as a customer! To learn more about how to take advantage of e-commerce and use it to expand your business, please contact us today at AudiologyPlus.