Now, more than ever, businesses are realizing the importance of having a strong digital presence. When businesses are put to the test at an unprecedented scale, adapting is critical. 


With more cities under shelter-in-place orders, people that can work from home are asked to stay home, public events are canceled or postponed, and traditional stores and restaurants are closing to help limit the spread of the virus. As a result, people have turned their attention to e-commerce, making it difficult for non-digital businesses to conduct their day-to-day operations. 


A Coresight Research survey has shown that 27.5% of U.S. internet users were avoiding public places, and 58% of the population would take more immediate measures if needed. 


According to Businessinsider, more than 90 major U.S. retailers are temporarily closing stores in an unprecedented move to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including Best Buy, Kohl’s, JCPenney, Marshalls, Ikea, H&M, Zara, Gap, Old Navy, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Homegoods. 


What Are People Buying Online?

Because many businesses are making (or have already made) the jump to digital, specific industries and products are booming. Check out some of the latest products on the rise in e-commerce.


1. Household Essentials & Cleaning Products


In the U.S., online purchases of virus protection products, such as hand sanitizers, gloves, masks, and antibacterial sprays, have surged by 817% according to an Adobe analysis. Toilet paper has spiked by 186%, according to the Adobe data.


2. Medicine


U.S. consumers are also stocking up on over-the-counter meds. Adobe’s analysis of e-commerce transactions found that purchases for cold, cough, and flu products have increased by 198%, while online purchases for pain relievers has increased by 152%. 


3. Food


The value of the U.S. online grocery market has grown from $12 billion in 2016 to $26 billion in 2018, and it has plenty of room to grow, given that the size of the overall market was $632 billion in 2018, according to IBISWorld. Because of COVID-19, quarantine has already shifted trends. Non-perishable foods, such as canned goods, are up by 69% and shelf-stable items oatmeal, rice, pasta) are up 58%.


In Southern Europe, there’s an astonishing increase in online grocery shopping. According to the Financial Times, in Italy, supermarket chain Carrefour announced online customers had doubled to 110,000.


Sales via partnerships with companies such as Glovo, which deliver certain items in 30 minutes or less in Italian cities, are up more than 10-fold. In France, Nielsen Research estimates online orders for home delivery rose 32% YoY in the week of March 2, while click-and-collect orders rose 29%, according to the same FT study.


4.  Clothing & Entertainment


Data from analytics firm Quantum Metric show that online clothing revenue has increased 43% at U.S. online retailers since the first week of January and the average order value has increased 26% in that time span, according to GQ. European consumers are also more prone to buying clothes, electronics, or books online. 


Increase of Data Traffic for Businesses

Data traffic is significantly increasing during this period since millions of people are working from home, putting data infrastructures to test all over the world.


The most important aspect businesses can focus on right now is the user journey of their digital properties and leveraging the power of data. They need to make sure their capabilities are up to the challenge when it comes to the new data influx they are experiencing. This means everything from proper data collection, servers, data warehousing, and resources (e.g., data engineers, analysts) need to be utilized to leverage data and generate insights. 


Through these insights, businesses can understand their users, anticipate trends, and stay ahead of the competition with the ever-changing needs of the world today.


These are trying times for many businesses, so we hope our free eBook, A Guide to User Journey Analysis, will help you gain a better understanding of your digital properties and keep them operating smoothly for your customers. 

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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