Contentsquare, one of our valued partners who help businesses understand how and why users are interacting with mobile, websites, and apps, conducted a comprehensive analysis to help companies understand how the coronavirus is impacting online consumer behaviors.
Contentsquare’s analysis is based on 5.2 billion sessions and 25 billion pageviews during the last 12 weeks of 2020, from January 6 to March 29. 
They compared behaviors across more than 20 industries in 26 countries for two time periods. The first was January 6 through February 16 (reference point) and the second was February 17 through March 29 (post-outbreak announcement).
The study results offered many useful insights, such as: 

  • Differences in consumer behavior and web traffic across multiple industries in the U.S., France, and the UK
  • How the crisis is affecting purchasing behavior
  • How to effectively reach your customers in times of crisis 
  • What products are popular during this period


Traffic and Conversion

The coronavirus period shows a clear surge in traffic metrics compared to the reference period: 6.9% increase in traffic, 11.8% increase in pageviews, 12.4% increase in transactions, and a 3.6% increase in conversion rates. 
Overall, digital properties managed to capitalize on the increasing demand for online presence. However, these figures show that while some industries soared (e.g., supermarkets and media), others plummeted (e.g,  events, entertainment, and tourism).  

Image source: Contentsquare

In Contentsquare’s more detailed report, it was noted that mobile users are significantly boosting traffic across multiple industries, with an average of 55% of online visits. The only two sectors where desktop still dominates are financial services and energy, although an 11% increase in mobile traffic to energy sites in the last 12 months confirms the growing mobile usage trend.

Image source: Contentsquare

The conversion rate chart (the number of conversions divided by the total number of visitors) does not reflect the same trend as the traffic increase. In fact, as traffic increases, only a small amount of those users are converting and the conversion percentage is decreasing. However, this does not mean that sales or revenue is decreasing. On the contrary, for example, the conversion rate for supermarkets only decreased by 50% on a 200% traffic increase. 


Opportunities and Challenges

Digital analytics companies are now, perhaps more than ever, an essential need for businesses. Organizations are realizing how much they rely on decision-making backed by data to deliver insights into their customer and marketing analytics.
The reason why some industries surged and others didn’t aren’t attributed to just an increase in demand. The most successful industries are adapting to create smarter digital marketing campaigns to support their customers by building a foundation focused on measurement, segmentation, profiling, optimizing conversion, and more.  
With increased traffic, transactions, and orders, companies must also adapt and optimize other parts of their operations.  
One of the biggest challenges e-commerce is currently facing is supply and logistics. With more than a 200% increase in web traffic over the span of a few weeks, supermarkets had little time to adapt their physical operations to the new volumes. Customers are stocking up on thousands of different products, which makes it difficult to handle restock and keep up with shipping demand. 
Some businesses in Europe, with the help of smart analytics and digital marketing, found a solution: they’ve bundled various products together, creating baskets of grocery and essential items that should be enough for two people for a week. That way, they’ve drastically optimized the logistics process, while also increasing sales and customer satisfaction. 


This period is both a great opportunity and a challenge for online businesses. Companies need to find a way to understand their customers through an immersive user journey, but also optimize their digital processes to flawlessly meet their business goals. 
Cognetik helps Contentsquare combine rich, online behavioral data via our expertise in machine learning, data science, advanced algorithms, and applied research to deliver for online businesses a first-in-class digital experience. 
There is no better time for businesses to improve their digital properties by leveraging the power of data, to gain a holistic view of their users and to improve their performance across all channels. The time for digital transformation is today.

About the author

Sebastian Stan

Sebastian is a journalist and digital strategist with years of experience in the news industry, social media, content creation and management, and digital analytics.

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