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How Coronavirus is Affecting Ecommerce: Stats


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With the COVID 19 pandemic ongoing, we look at how online shopping behaviour has been affected, with a look at some of our data.

It’s an unprecedented situation, and one which will continue to change in the coming weeks and months.

Our data from March 2020 looks at abandonment rates and other metrics across several different sectors, comparing the first 18 days of March to 2019 averages.

Cart Abandonment Rates

In usual circumstances, abandonment rates are affected by factors like the length of checkout process, price of products and how long customers research purchases.

Other factors such as seasonal trends and sales can affect abandonment. For example, abandonment rates often fall during events like 11.11 and Black Friday as shoppers are keen to take advantage of promotions.

Lower abandonment rates can reflect increased demand for certain products or services. For example, abandonment rates in the insurance sector are down by 11% and those for mobile providers down 2%.

In other sectors, we know that demand is up, but abandonment rates are higher than usual.

Take grocery for example. Ocado, a well-known online grocery brand, illustrates the demand for this sector as people look for home delivery.

However, we’re seeing higher abandonment rates in the grocery sector, almost 8% more than usual.

This may be due to the difficulty customers have in finding some items as people panic buy, as well as website performance under unprecedented levels of traffic.

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Average Order Values by Sector

Looking at average order values (AOV) by sector, we can see that consumers seem to be spending more than usual.

So we see grocery, pharmaceutical and general retail AOVs being much higher as people buy the products they need in the current situation.

Travel is down for obvious reasons, while insurance AOVs are much higher than usual.

Conversions and Sales Uplift by Sector

We’ve also pulled some stats on specific sectors to show the impact of COVID-19 on certain types of site.

Here we compare February 2020 to the same period in 2019.

The sales uplift figure shows how cart abandonment emails and SMS can increase order values for retailers. Recovered AOVs are frequently higher than order values from direct sales.

Grocery sites are an obvious area to look for an impact, and we can see increases in AOVs year on year.

Looking at insurance sites, we can see a big impact on abandonments and order values, but conversion rates and sales uplift from cart abandonment emails are also higher.

Home Improvement and DIY is a sector that has already seen an impact from people spending more time at home.

It’s a sector that traditionally picks up in early Spring, and with people staying at home, it’s likely to be a growth sector online.

In Summary

With major retailers like John Lewis, Selfridges, Schuh and more closing stores temporarily, we’re likely to see a huge shift to online shopping in many retail sectors.

Retailers will face different challenges at this time. Some may see reduced traffic, so it can be about making the most of the traffic that comes in, and working hard to increase conversion rates.

Other sectors will need to adapt to increased customer demand, and trying to maintaining stock and delivery performance in difficult times.

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief at SaleCycle. He's been covering ecommerce and digital marketing for more than a decade, having previously written reports and articles for Econsultancy. ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and more.