This article is part of a series on COVID-19 focusing on how the outbreak is affecting industries.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having an unprecedented impact on consumer markets around the world, due to the number of individuals working from home or unable to leave their homes. This has placed a tremendous burden on the infrastructure of e-commerce retailers as consumers look to purchase necessary goods from their home and remain dependent on their country’s delivery infrastructure and supply chains.
With Euromonitor International’s new global e-commerce product and price monitoring platform, Via, extracting millions of data points every day for standardised cross-comparison quickly reveals what product categories are selling out during key periods of the coronavirus outbreak as well as the dramatic implications these demand drivers are having on online retail pricing for select categories.
Using Via, we were able to quickly and easily examine nearly a million daily data observations for a three-week period across leading e-commerce retailers in the chosen markets. Moreover, the data clearly shows how the availability of selected categories and their pricing dynamics has changed during this period.
For this report, a select basket of daily goods has been chosen for observation based on Euromonitor International’s industry knowledge of fast-moving consumer goods alongside local knowledge from research analysts on the ground in each market reporting on local market supply chain issues and COVID-19 impacted product categories.
Alongside category scope, the million daily data observations used for this analysis are pulled from key online retailers across each market and represent a significant portion of e-commerce availability in each country.
Key findings from this report
In China, the price of pet food remains high in online platforms due to preferences for mid-priced and premium products and supply shortages for domestic and imported brands. This is also reflected in elevated online out-of-stock levels, but thanks to the resumption of work in China, online availability for pet food is improving.
Hong Kong’s government imposed a temporary closure for bars and selling alcoholic drinks through on-trade channels has been strictly prohibited. While initial speculation suggested that sales of alcoholic drinks would increase in the off-trade channel, the latest data show that on-trade restrictions have had a very limited impact on online prices and product availability for most alcoholic drinks.
In Japan, while select beauty and personal care products are still showing dramatic fluctuations in price, select products in consumer healthcare, like vitamins, are seeing increased demand but not experiencing dramatic price fluctuations.
Fresh food supplies in South Korea through retail channels, including e-commerce, are currently high due to the drop in foodservice demand. Producers have been moving to e-commerce as more South Korean consumers are shopping online to avoid exposure to COVID-19. Despite this shift, online product prices and availability have generally remained stable since the initial stages of the outbreak.
In Taiwan, with high public awareness and rigorous official response to control the spread of COVID-19, online prices and availability are stabilising after some volatility following the outbreak’s second wave. Toilet paper and rice saw increased demand when new policies to further control COVID-19 were launched in early April, but online prices and out-of-stocks are now falling as tensions alleviate.
• Taiwan: Christina Chien and Vicky Huang
• China: Mark Miao
• Hong Kong: Daegal Leung
• Japan: Jared Conway
• South Korea: Oryoon Lee