Fears of Virus Outbreak Open the Door to the New Adoption of Online Shopping
As people are trying to stay healthy and escaping virus outbreak, Ecommerce industry strive to its best to ensure that we are all kept virus free.
Amids COVID-19 crisis that wreak havoc to the world’s economy, one industry is standing above all to help people escape deadly virus and might change landscape of Ecommerce forever.
COVID-19, the official name for the latest emerging Coronavirus dubbed by World Health Organization (WHO), is feared to become a new pandemic. As of the beginning of March, the number of infected rises above 95,000, with more than 200 identified in Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. Southeast Asia economy is inevitably driven by China where trades, transportation, and excursion are unavoidable from the alleged origination COVID-19, and unfortunately, we are expecting numbers of confirmed patients to grow significantly.
Impact of the outbreak on Southeast Asia
BrandIQ investigate the growth rate of the epidemic in various regions and found that Southeast Asia numbers are fairly suppressive. From the 1st of February to 5th March 2020, numbers of the confirmed patients only increase by 372% while in China, South Korea and Europe numbers are 582%, 47950%, and 19127% respectively.
Southeast Asian culture seems to involve limited human to human contact whilst westerner greetings are either handshake or kiss on the cheeks. Countries like Thailand and Singapore are also absorbing East Asian habit of wearing a mask in public (despite the main reason is to battling the region’s pollution level). This coincidentally helped slowing COVID-19 dissemination.
If you live in Southeast Asia, it is impossible to not notice the thinning visitors in malls these days, public transportations are also less crowded, and food delivery service such as GrabFood and Foodpanda are flourishing. GrabFood recorded 4 million orders in the first month of 2020 comparing to a total three million orders in 2019, supporting our hypothesis that consumers are preferring to stay home amidst the outbreak.
Online marketshare insights are provided by digital shelf on BrandIQ
BrandIQ dives into our Digital Shelf to determine reflective factors on Southeast Asia’s top marketplace from the first week of the outbreak until the beginning of March to see the impact on people’s purchase behavior. As anticipated, every category regards to self-cleaning, healthcare, virus protection has massive growth in sales.
BrandIQ is the first Ecommerce Analytics Platform to launch in Southeast Asia. The platform covers data collection from top regional marketplaces, spread over 6 countries.
We are responding to the outbreak and try to stay healthy
Thermometers revenue is growing 705% prior to outbreak period. It resonates consumers responsibility to ensure their safety and staying on offence. Hand Care including sanitizers & soup also experienced significant uplift. Overall every product related to virus prevention and protection are on positive Dollar Growth side.
When look closely we will see inverted Unit Growth on Groceries and Body Wash. This could be articulated by two plausible explanations; (1.) customers are willing to pay premium for better/high-end product during the outbreak period (to ensure cleanliness & safety) or (2.) sellers and merchants are taking advantage of the situation by raising and speculating price.
Dollar Growth vs Unit Growth (%) from Southeast Asia’s top marketplace during virus outbreak.
Mask & Filter Dollar Growth are undermined due to stock and product distribution backlog. The real reason behind significantly higher Unit Growth than Dollar could be explained by average order value. Southeast Asia, especially Thailand and Indonesia, has been the victim of PM2.5 since November 2019. The order value of filters is monstrous compared to a piece of mask. Prior to the outbreak, the filter is a dominant product, while during the epidemic – mask became a survival tool. Therefore, Unit Growth value is over-representation while Dollar Growth reflects production and distribution problems (Dollar Growth does not catch up to Unit Growth).
As of now, we are starting to see some level of surgical mask shortage whereby there are several news outlets reporting mask scarcity on both public & private health organization including hospitals and clinics. Some local SMEs aggravated and worsened this incidence by price speculating this lifesaving item. However, ecommerce leaders such as Lazada & Shopee have taken a step of responsibility to not condone such actions and began to take out, ban, and off-board sellers who taking advantage of this global catastrophe.
We put our health first and budgeting other expense
BrandIQ indexing outbreak period online shopping growth by selecting the categories that performed well during normal circumstances (Electronics, Beauty, Petcare, and Fashion) to compare growth index against Healthcare and Groceries products.
The number speaks for itself; Southeast Asian consumers are tightened up their personal expense. Both categories yield positive growths are COVID-19 preparation and protection item (food, medicine, health accessory). Extravagance items, for instance, beauty and fashion are inverted whilst unnecessities such as Mobile, Laptop & other electronics are receding to hibernation. Nevertheless, Alkaline batteries, as a subsidiary to Electronics, are growing 38% (Index +0.76) during the outbreak.
Online Shopping growth index during COVID-19 outbreak
Pet food and medical is expected to yield positive index
Through recent breaking news from Hongkong, a Pomeranian is tested to have “weak positive” immune for novel coronavirus.
“The Pomeranian’s owner was infected with COVID-19 but the dog itself was not showing symptoms,” authorities said.
However, the famous news outlet also warns the readers to adopt good hygiene practices for both humans and pets, therefore, we are also anticipating incline of pet care products sales via online channel.
Southeast Asia’s commercial landscape as we know might forever altered when consumers, who has been negligence of online shopping, has been forced to step into Online Shopping world. BRANDIQ team hope this crisis resolve quickly but until that time, please stay conscious, stay safe and follow official announcement from WHO.
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