Thailand’s e-commerce is flourishing as the country has declared no new COVID-19 cases in the past month, which is saying something considering the country borders China, the source of the disease.
But in the US, many states are reinstating lockdown procedures to manage sharp spikes in new cases. Texas has closed its borders. Arizona and Florida are hot spots.
And European countries, like Germany this week, are also seeing localized spikes in new cases prompting officials to order several districts back into lockdown.
All of these developments impact how customers engage with brands, the channels they buy through, how much they buy, and what sort of products and services they want most during such challenging times.
Welcome to the CCInsight project where we track how COVID-19 impacts consumer spending around the world. Here are some of the top e-commerce trends we’ve spotted over the past seven days.
After $3 Trillion in Federal Relief in May, US Retail Prepares for a Second Wave of Closures
From April to May, US retailers saw a 17.7% increase in growth, despite total purchases being down 6.1% YoY. However, May’s rebound was more than likely a byproduct of the $3 trillion rescue package the federal government dispersed to companies and households throughout the nation.
That good news is hampered this week by an ongoing rise in new COVID-19 cases throughout the US, prompting many states and retailers to go back into lockdown. That means that the most important commerce lesson businesses have learned so far during this pandemic will still apply: Retailers who have already positioned themselves for omnichannel e-commerce may fare better during this second round of closures.
Thailand’s Exemplary Management of COVID-19 Boosts E-Commerce
On Wednesday, June 24, Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration, reported that the country has had no new infections in the last 30 days. The key factor? Ninety-five percent of residents wear masks when they go out in public. Thailand has a total of 3,157 confirmed cases and 58 deaths. By comparison, the US death rate is 450 times higher.
With such a low number of new cases, expect much of the retail sector in Thailand to recover quickly and start growing again. Thailand pure players have performed well throughout the pandemic compared to other APAC countries, and thanks to the more stringent precautions taken by citizens, Thais will be more inclined to visit brick-and-mortar stores even after so many consumers have shifted to online shopping.
Fashion Ads with Video on Facebook and Instagram Outperform Google During Lockdown
Clicks on fashion ads on Facebook and Instagram went up 93% during the height of the global lockdown versus 44% for the same ad clicks on Google. Video-based content is the gamechanger here.
The data shows that Facebook and Instagram ads showing fashion products significantly outperformed those on Google thanks mainly to sponsored video content. Consumers were most engaged by sponsored Instagram stories and video ads on Facebook Live and Messenger. Looking through CCInsight data for Facebook and Google, we found that impressions also rose considerably over the same period, with Facebook ad impressions for fashion items rising an impressive 149% while Google ad impressions only went up 25%.
In analyzing the data, Alex Timlin, Senior Vice President of Verticals at Emarsys sees lockdown as the primary driver of increased exposure to digital ads, adding, “Facebook’s dominance during lockdown, though, is down to how its family of apps present multiple opportunities to reach a huge audience with lots of different types of sponsored content — particularly for fashion brands. Many of Emarsys’ fashion brand customers have seen a measurable business outcome from investing in social media advertising during this period.”
German Retail Faces Rise in New COVID-19 Cases Just as Parts of the Country Were Coming Out of Lockdown
With overall growth declining, Germany is facing an 8.2% drop in total retail sales this year. The good news is that retail e-commerce is on the rise in Germany, and based on increases in March and April, sales are predicted to grow 16.2% YoY as consumers continue to shop more online.
But what will it take for Germans to return to in-store shopping? Masks, protective barriers, increased sanitation, and social distancing for starters. The country also needs to stay out of lockdown.
A recent rise in new COVID-19 cases could thwart in-store shopping. For example, an outbreak at a meat-processing plant in Verl, Germany has forced the state of North Rhine-Westphalia to go back under lockdown until June 30th. Since the outbreak was announced on June 20th, CCInsight data shows German retail e-commerce is starting to drop. This will take some careful watching as we move into Q3.
Data Insights for the Week
Pure e-commerce and retail online in the Americas are seeing the most revenue growth this week with the same top three in pure e-commerce (topping the list for the last month now). In retail e-commerce, Peru dropped a bit this week while Ecuador and Mexico remain in the top two slots with over 200% growth YoY.
Revenue Increase Leaders at a Glance
For pure players, Romania and Belarus are still the highest performers, though they both have dropped below 200% revenue growth YoY in the last two weeks as various countries ease or reimpose lockdown restrictions. Turkey and Belgium remain the strongest in retail online, though overall gains have dropped in the last two weeks.
Revenue Increase Leaders at a Glance
Once again, India has the highest growth rate for pure e-commerce in APAC with Japan making great strides in revenue growth over the last two weeks. In retail online, Malaysia stands at the top with more than 140% more revenue growth in the last two weeks than the next four countries in the list.
Revenue Increase Leaders at a Glance
Top Product Trends of This Week
Key Product Trend Insights: Sports and fitness products are the highest performing this week, with a surprising number of hammocks and dog beds being the fastest risers.
Growth Rate of Online Transactions
For the most part, e-commerce is up across the board, though individual countries are seeing dips as retail stores are open again for the public.
Trends by Region
Pure e-commerce: Pure e-commerce revenue in the Americas continues to lead the world. Looking at the top five countries in each region, the Americas averages +180% revenue growth YoY, while Europe’s top five average +109% and APAC’s top five average +77%. However, Europe, as a whole, is performing 70% below APAC as whole, the latter on a nice rise over the last week.
Retail online: For retail e-commerce, we see a similar picture with the top five countries in the Americas averaging +171% revenue growth YoY, Europe averaging +112%, and APAC averaging 75%. However, when you figure in all of the countries in the region, Europe has fallen around 20% below APAC in revenue growth in the last two weeks.
Trends by Country
Pure e-commerce: In the Americas, Argentina, Chile, and Puerto Rico have garnered over 200% growth in revenue YOY for the last four weeks, while the Dominican Republic (+117% in the last two weeks, +192% YoY) and the United States (down 5% in the last two week but +107% YoY) are performing well.
Other countries in the region are seeing between 25% and 130% declines in revenue growth over the last 14 days. Former leader Peru fell 129% to +70% YoY while Colombia fell 110% to +84% YoY. A riser of late, Jamaica with +37% revenue growth YoY, is catching up to Mexico (+66% YoY) and Canada (+48% YoY).
European pure e-commerce revenue growth is doing a little better than retail online this week with Romania (+190% YoY), Belarus (+155% YoY), and Sweden (+79%) growing between 8% and 29% over the last two weeks. Ukraine has made the greatest gains, rising 67% from 0% two weeks ago.
The big three economies are impacted by a number of Coronavirus-related forces: The United Kingdom (+55% YoY, -22% over the last two weeks) and Germany (+50% YoY, -15% in the same time frame) are both holding steady, while France (+15% YoY, +13%) has a lot of ground to make up.
Pure play in APAC is dominated by India (+154% YoY) and a rising Japan (+118% YoY) who has rocketed up 111% in the last two weeks. Elsewhere there are steep revenue growth declines, like in Indonesia (-58% YoY, -101% in the last two weeks) and China (-61% YoY, +19% in the last two weeks).
Between these two extremes, we have Australia (+67% YoY, +13% in the last two weeks) and Thailand (+62% YoY) with respectable year-over-year growth. Thailand rose 49% in the last two weeks, in part due to the country’s impressive management of the pandemic allowing Thailand to reopen for business.
Retail online: For four weeks now, Ecuador and Mexico have led retail e-commerce in the Americas with over 200% revenue growth YoY. Peru’s not far behind at +196% YoY, and despite an 11% decline in the last two weeks, Columbia rounds out the top four with +164% YoY.
Over 65% lower than the top four in the region sit Canada (+97% YoY, losing 16% in the last two weeks after making great gains in late May and early June) and the United States (+97% YoY, +16% over the last two weeks). And while Chile is doing extremely well in pure e-commerce, retail e-commerce is suffering steep declines year-over-year.
Retail online in Europe is lead once more by Turkey (+157%) after falling 41% in the last two weeks and Belgium (+150%) after falling 50%. The United Kingdom saw some of the best growth in the same time frame (+87% YoY, +41% in the last two weeks), and despite new outbreaks of Coronavirus, Germany has +15% revenue growth YoY.
In the last two weeks, many other countries saw declines anywhere from 3% (Spain, +84% YoY) up to 107% (Ireland) with Poland (+84% YoY, -44% in the last two weeks) and France (+46% YoY, -34% in the last two weeks) suffering moderate losses.
The retail online revenue growth leader for the last four weeks in APAC is Malaysia with over 200% YoY and 140% higher than second place Australia (+60% YoY, -11% in the last two weeks).
Declines in the same time frame range from -8% for New Zealand (+55% YoY) to -42% for India (-44% YoY) and down to China’s -61% (though still experiencing +2.8% growth YoY). The fast riser this week is Japan with +36% revenue growth YoY and most of that gained in the last two weeks. It’s also worth noting that Thailand has had a great week in both pure e-commerce and retail online, which is at +23% growth YoY despite a 27% drop in the last two weeks.