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Coronavirus: Changes in Soft Drinks E-commerce Availability, January – August 2020

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Countries around the world have all been impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the implications that it is having on various industries have been profound.

Many consumers turned to online shopping as the best way to minimise the risk of infection, but the pandemic also saw many consumers engaging in stockpiling behaviour which led to extreme product shortages. In turn, this placed a tremendous burden on e-commerce retailers’ supply chains and logistical infrastructure.

Some markets were more resilient than others or already had more robust e-commerce networks in place. Examining out-of-stock rates and SKU availability by industry gives you a view of how different markets handled the challenges that the pandemic brought to online retailing.

Key findings from the report

The global average out-of-stock% rate for soft drink products sold online was 5.3% for the first eight months of 2020. However, countries such as Israel, Greece and South Korea had significantly lower out-of-stock% rates of close to 0%.

Monitoring changes in the number of available SKUs sold online shows that soft drink product availability declined drastically due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Only recently in June and July have online supplies begun to recover. New Zealand, China and Italy saw the largest declines in available SKUs from January to August, leading to frustrated or confused online soft drinks shoppers.

One of the most in-demand soft drinks products during the COVID-19 outbreak was concentrates, as consumers looked to stretch their beverages and reduce the amount of product that had to be ordered. As a result, concentrates saw higher-than-average rates of out-of-stock and changes in available SKUs worldwide.

In the US, soft drinks suppliers such as Starbucks, Walmart, AriZona Beverage and Ocean Spray provided the most satisfying shopping experience compared to other leading players with regard to availability as these companies had lower than average out-of-stock rates and declines in available SKUs during the time period from January to August.

Read our latest report to see how COVID-19 affected the soft drinks industry from January to August 2020.

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 more than 20 million daily SKU observations across leading e-commerce retailers in 40 countries. Moreover, the data clearly shows how the availability of selected categories and their pricing dynamics has changed during this period. Use our Coronavirus: Pricing and Availability Tracker to learn more.

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Euromonitor International 13 September 2023

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