E-commerce is playing a critical role in the fight against COVID-19, with online retailers experiencing a flood of orders from customers confined to their homes, according to research firm GlobalData. Its recent report, COVID-19 Impact on Ecommerce, reveals that COVID-19 will have a long-term positive effect on the e-commerce sector, with even the most skeptical consumers forced to abandon physical stores in response to restrictions on movement.
“COVID-19 has given the e-commerce sector a boost, with online grocery retailers the biggest beneficiaries,” says Luke Gowland, thematic analyst at GlobalData. “Supermarkets are experiencing unprecedented demand for home grocery delivery. GlobalData expects the UK online food and grocery market to grow nearly 20% in 2020 to £13.2bn.”
However, social distancing measures have dealt a significant blow to clothing and footwear retailers. GlobalData forecasts a drop in UK online sales of 7.9% from 2019 levels. However, online retailers will still have an opportunity to grab market share from their high street rivals.
“Perhaps the worst-affected ecommerce players will be online travel agencies and online estate agents,” says Gowland. “Once upon a time, online travel agencies were disrupting the market and taking down big names in the process. Now, they are the ones being disrupted. Ride sharing is another victim of COVID-19, with the majority of the world practicing social distancing, the demand for shared mobility has decreased dramatically. Lyft and Uber have experienced a decline in bookings of 75% and 80% respectively.
“Companies will be focusing on their supply chains and how technologies such as the cloud, 5G, IoT, and blockchain can help to improve their efficiency and robustness. Ultimately, e-commerce will benefit from COVID-19, with even the worst affected companies beginning to build momentum once more once lockdown restrictions have been lifted.”