The opportunities Covid brings to the E-commerce world

While most businesses suffered from the effects of Covid, growth still occurred in the e-commerce world. With lockdowns, ordering goods and services online became indispensable. E-commerce raised its share of the global retail trade from 14% in 2019 to 17% in 2020. 

With Covid restrictions waning. The question is, will shoppers’ preference for online shopping continue to grow even after the pandemic restrictions are over? 

The longer the pandemic takes, the more shoppers become accustomed to buying online, so we can expect it to become the new normal. That being said, in some countries we already see a drop in the e-commerce shares in total retail sales after the pandemic peak. The shares after the peak are, however, still higher than the shares before the pandemic.

e-commerce sales during covid

E-commerce sales in all countries increased in 2019 compared to 2018. For most but not all countries, e-commerce sales increased in 2020 compared to 2019. 

Shopping trends during Covid

During Covid, we have come accustomed to working and learning remotely, helping kids with their schoolwork, exercising at home and trading restaurants for cookbooks. These are the product categories that are seeing some of the biggest jumps: 

Electrical devices such as webcams, monitors, computers and laptops became in high demand. By the end of 2020, there was a 26,1% growth in computer sales over the previous year. 

Loungewear and sleepwear sales increased significantly. Working from home caused most people to choose casual and comfortable clothing over a suit and tie. Especially Australia, Brazil, Korea and Italy saw a significant increase in this product category. 

Covid also caused us to get creative in the kitchen. Baking items like food decorating kits, batter mixes and pastry fillings gained popularity.  At the same time, a sales increase in fitness and sporting equipment occurred. Especially exercise-bands gained popularity. 

We often reached for gaming consoles like Playstation to keep us entertained. Gaming hardware, controllers and games saw sales growth around the world. Seasonal products like barbeques, garden furniture, and pools rose, since holidays are still mostly spent at home. 

Not all product categories rose in sales with this pandemic. Travel-related products like suitcases, cameras, and swimwear decreased in sales. 

No one knows what the next year, or even 6 months, are going to look like when it comes to Covid-19. All we can say is that it’s highly likely that global retail will not go back to normal, and we should instead prepare for a new normal. Amidst all the uncertainty, we think it’s safe to say that the e-commerce world will continue to grow, with or without a pandemic. 

e-commerce sales during covid by country

E-commerce sales by country over 2018, 2019 and 2020. Datasource: Eurostat

More shopping trends

The pandemic caused the consumer’s mindset and behaviour to change, making them more conscious of their shopping habits. According to Google, shoppers are influenced by the “buy local, or bye local” campaigns that emerged as a response to the pandemic, resulting in 56% of EMEA holiday shoppers stating they will shop more at local stores this holiday season.

For these reasons, it’s important to show shoppers your in-store inventory if you are a local store owner. To show this and other important store information, like directions to your shop or opening hours, you want to use local inventory ads. If you want to know how to set up local inventory ads for your shop, check out our article about it. 

Common pandemic struggles for retailers

Google states that pandemic-related supply chain challenges are expected to continue. The supply chain challenges are the effect of labor shortages, fluctuating demand and disrupted shipping lanes.

These challenges result in delivery delays and expected stock shortages, so shoppers are paying more attention to product availability before they convert to purchasing a product, and they are using Google Search to get product availability information. 

What can you do as a retailer?

It is important to keep your product availability information up-to-date. If a popular product goes out of stock, consider offering relevant substitutes that could still meet your customer’s needs. Also, make sure to be transparent about your delivery times and possible delays so customers know what to expect. Changes in delivery time after a customer bought your product can result in distrust and damage brand loyalty. 

We hope this article has been helpful.  If you have any questions or need our help with your Shopping ads, please feel free to contact us at any time at