Ecommerce replaces in-store purchasing as billions of people remain subject to stay-at-home directives across the globe because of the coronavirus pandemic.

With billions of people under stay-at-home directives during the coronavirus pandemic, ecommerce is booming across the planet.

In North America, the number of online orders for web-only online retailers were up 52% year over year in the United States and Canada for the 2 weeks of March 22 through April 4, according to an online tracker from marketing platform Emarsys and analytics platform GoodData. Revenue for web-only retailers in the U.S. and Canada was up 30% year over year for the period. 

Among primarily store-based retailers,  the number of online orders in the U.S. and Canada were up 56% year over year for the 2 weeks of March 22 through April 4, according to the Emarsys/GoodData tracker. Online sales for that group during that period grew 43% compared with the same period a year earlier.

At a time when shoppers have been stocking up on essentials, online grocery revenue soared much higher than overall ecommerce sales. According to food marketing and sales consulting firm Brick Meets Click, U.S. online grocery sales for all of March were up 233% compared with August 2019. Meanwhile, research from Symphony RetailAI finds online traffic is up more than 300% for some grocery retailers, while in-store traffic is down 45%.

Earlier this month, Adobe Analytics reported a 25% boost in average U.S. daily online sales March 13-15 compared with March 1-11. The growth is primarily due to a boost in online grocery sales, which have increased 100% in daily U.S. online sales March 13-15 compared with average daily sales March 1-11.

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Here’s how the COVID-19 crisis has affected ecommerce in other parts of the world:

Asia-Pacific Region

During the March 22 through April 4 period, year-over-year transaction growth for web-only retailers was 23% in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, according to the Emarsys/GoodData tracker. During the same period, year-over-year revenue growth was 19% in the region.

Among primarily store-based retailers, APAC-region online orders were up 82% year over year for the 2 weeks of March 22 through April 4, according to the Emarsys/GoodData tracker. Online sales for that group during that period grew 22% compared with the same period a year earlier.

The APAC region includes China, which suffered the first COVID-19 cases in late December. For the APAC region, the peak in online ordering from web-only retailers occurred in the 2 weeks that ended January 19, the Emarsys/GoodData tracker says; for that period, the year-over-year growth rate reached 78%. Since then, online orders are still increased compared with the same period last year, although online orders are no longer growing week over week.

In China, online sales from web-only merchants were down 65% year-over-year for the 7 days ended April 7, and online sales from store-based retailers were down 30%, according to the Emarsys/GoodData tracker. Online orders were down 59% and 6% respectively.

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Canada

Canadian online sales grew 99% from March 11 through March 29, compared with the preceding 19-day period (Feb. 20-March 10), according to data from market research firm Absolunet Inc. March 11 was the day the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. The food and restaurant category had the fastest growth, averaging 194% year-over-year growth for online sales.  The report breaks down COVID-19’s impact on ecommerce by sector.

For the 19 days, appliances, electronics, building materials and do-it-yourself categories saw the most significant gain in online sales, at 161%, followed by the food and restaurants category at 160%. Online furniture and home decor sales grew 106% for the period, and online sporting goods sales jumped 105%. Online apparel sales grew a relatively modest 21%.

West and Central Europe

During the March 22 through April 4 period, online orders from web-only retailers up 44% in West and Central Europe. During the same period, year-over-year revenue growth for web-only retailers was 39%. Among primarily store-based retailers, online orders in Europe were up 71% year over year for the 2 weeks of March 22 through April 4, according to the Emarsys/GoodData tracker. Online sales for that group during those 2 weeks grew 31% compared with the same period a year earlier.

Other data from the Emarsys/GoodData tracker for the 2 weeks of March 22 through April 4 includes: 

  • In France, online sales were up 24% for web-only retailers and 62% for store-based retailers, while orders were up 49% and 18%, respectively.
  • In Germany, online sales were up 45% for web-only retailers and 42% for store-based retailers, while orders were up 58% and 69%, respectively.
  • In Italy, online sales were up 43% for web-only retailers and 71% for store-based retailers, while orders were up 66% and 79%, respectively.
  • In Sweden, online sales were up 37% for web-only retailers and 52% for store-based retailers, while orders were up 27% and 25%, respectively.

United Kingdom

Data from analytics firm Contentsquare has revealed that transactions on supermarket sites surged 221% in the week ended April 3, while overall traffic only increased by 36%  This same research also found that the cosmetic industry has been thriving with 53% more transactions taking place on their websites this week than last, contributing to a 156% increase against the average of the period before the epidemic hit. Sales of fashion retailers have seen 12% fewer transactions this week than their average before the coronavirus pandemic.

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Purchases of sports equipment are making a comeback with U.K. consumers despite a 2-week lull; transactions rose by 34% this week, contributing to a 68% increase against the period before the country’s stay-at-home order. Contentsquare has been providing updates on the coronavirus’ impact on ecommerce based on real-time data from more than 50 million transactions from 1,400 sites.

Nielsen reports 20% of British households shopped online during the four weeks ending March 21. That represented an additional 600,000 new households shopping online compared to the same period last year. Households also placed a further 1.2 million online grocery orders during the period, Nielsen says.

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