The pandemic now becoming a daily fact of life, and everyone is adapting to its effects. Thus, it is no surprise that the web metrics for non-essential products have dropped, roughly by 30 – 40%. Department stores for apparel goods are set to incur a massive disruption in sales. However, just as there are industries experiencing massive losses, this is not to say that there are none benefiting from a nightmare scenario.
Social Distancing takes Effect
Social distancing has taken a blow to traditional brick-and-mortar stores. This fact is becoming increasingly apparent through studies; according to a survey by Retail Systems Research, 93% of people now expect to do their shopping online. 60% of those respondents saying that they expect to shop at an increased level than previously. Also, the majority of consumers responded that they have stopped shopping in stores altogether. Conversely, there has been a huge expansion in three areas: video conferencing software, information consumption and (most importantly) E- commerce.
E-Commerce Rising: Falling Page Views but Better Conversions
This pandemic clearly facilitates an increased opportunity for eCommerce to thrive. Indeed, it is not hard to discern which eCommerce industry has benefited the most from the Covid-19 outbreak; one need only to take a look around them; with people implementing social distancing measures in mass, and fear over sanitary issues skyrocketing, Food and Healthcare have become a priority. With patrons of online food delivery outlets such as Grabhub and Instacart experiencing a boom, as many as 1,500 E-Commerce sites have had a 100% growth of their online consumer base.
Interestingly though, according to a study which analyzed the website traffic data of around 200 online retailers, while site visits to E-commerce sites have been falling overall (With fashion retailing sites have dropping by 18% in terms of views, and sales dropping by around 55% since the end of February), conversion rates have surprisingly increased by 21%. This fact is surprising on the surface, but makes sense when comprehending the nature of consumer behavior: during strenuous times, consumers will be looking to shop with purpose, rather than to browse. Hence, while overall visits have dropped, conversions have increased due to customers completing their purchases.
Dire Consequences: Dwindling Industries and Decreased Ad Spending
Just like any aspect of life, there are winners and losers. The same logic can be applied now, with many industries experiencing the full force of the impact in spades. Specifically, the financial sector, which regularly experiences large increases in traffic, has dropped in conversions by almost 20%. Travel and Tourism, in particular, has been dealt a heavy loss; impressions, which account for 8% of all ad impression data, has been quickly declining. As of March 20th, the percentage is down by 2.5%.
Similarly, a survey conducted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau revealed that 44% of ad buyers believed that the crisis will have a ‘substantially more negative impact’ on ad spending. And the respondents most likely have every reason to believe this, with the amount spending on digital and traditional advertising dropping by 33% and 39% respectively. Along with this decrease came drastic actions which were taken in response; with the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2020 seeing around a quarter of all respondents pause ad spending, and 46% adopting new spending strategies.