The pandemic has created a dramatic impact on all of our lives, including the ways we shop and buy things. Stay-at-home orders, physical stores closures, job losses, and more are impacting how customers make purchasing decisions, and the COVID-19 e-commerce data reveals exactly how much consumer behavior is being altered as a result of the ongoing uncertainty.
To find out how these changing buying patterns are impacting our customers’ e-commerce business, we looked at our SAP Commerce Cloud customer data to understand the key trends and behaviors at an aggregated level during the pandemic.
The numbers are astonishing.
COVID-19 e-commerce data: Numbers are plateauing – but at 63.6% higher than before
The new normal: e-commerce will remain dominant
Our study revealed four distinct phases:
- In the first eight weeks of this year, the online order volume trends were consistent with the previous year. Although COVID-19 was spreading in China during this time, the rest of the world was relatively unscathed – at least that’s how it seemed.
- Early indicators: During weeks 8 to 11, we began seeing an increase in demand:
– Order volume increased 11.1% during weeks 8 to 10, compared to 1.9% decline in 2019
– Order volume jumped to 20.6% during week 10
By this time, consumers around the world were realizing that COVID-19 was, indeed, not your average flu or virus. As the coronavirus began spreading outside of China, so too did concerns about the virus, which began driving the start of online purchases skyrocketing.
- WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11, triggering panic purchasing:
– Order volumes jumped to 40.4% by week 13
– Comparing to the same period in 2019, there was only a slight increase of 3.03%
- Demand plateaus: After week 13, order volumes plateaued as panic shopping subsided, but they have plateaued 63.6% higher than in week 8. With physical stores closing and stay-at-home orders in place, people are utilizing e-commerce channels as their primary means of making purchases. This doesn’t look to change anytime in the near future.
It was clear that the pandemic had a dramatic impact on the order volumes, and from the organizations’ perspective, it was like an unplanned “Black Friday” event. Many organizations scrambled to react to this event. At SAP, as when we noticed the early trends, we proactively reached out the most impacted group of SAP Commerce Cloud customers to help them better manage and handle the spikes in demand and are actively working with them to create a more resilient eCommerce platform.
As countries begin to remove stay-at-home orders and re-open their societies, it’ll be interesting to see if the convenience and safety offered by moving online will remain as popular as it is today. But with most experts predicting a second wave of the virus accompanied by shut-downs, if you’re not looking at improving your e-commerce platforms, there’s a good chance your competitors are.