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 week’s report
In Italy, the restrictive measures introduced earlier in March are proving effective and "panic buying" is no longer an issue. However, more consumers are shopping online and e-commerce logistics remain under pressure with deliveries often delayed. This has pushed many retailers to adapt their online ordering and fulfillment policies. Beauty and personal care products are in high demand online, with e-commerce prices and out-of-stock levels increasing as more shoppers shift from brick and mortar retailers due to COVID-19.
Now that the Tokyo Olympics have been postponed, more drastic measures continue to be considered in Japan. Consumers are preparing for lockdown and are taking the time to stock up on daily essentials like rice, dried pasta and noodles. Suppliers and retailers in Japan are continuing to inform the general public that there is plenty of available goods for consumers, but some e-commerce retailers are seeing an increase in the percentage of items that are listed as out of stock.
In the US, e-commerce retailers saw the percentage of out-of-stock items increase during the time period as US shoppers rushed online to buy basic cleaning and hygiene items. This led to median price fluctuations of double digits but was still largely constrained compared to preceding levels seen in other countries. Comparing a variety of categories related to COVID-19, hand dishwashing products saw increased demand online, as many consumers saw it as a supplement to liquid soap, as well as a product to have on hand for increased general cleaning use during the extended stay-at-home period.
• Japan and the US: Jared Conway
• Italy: Stefano Botter