Ecommerce Trends During the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

Paul Capriolo

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March 20, 2020

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The world has changed rapidly over the last few months, and it’s still unclear when and how everything will go back to normal. We’re on alert 24/7 and working to support merchants who are dealing with challenges surrounding COVID-19.

Our sellers have experienced a variety of impacts:

  • Some Zentail merchants—particularly those in the health, pet supply and other “essential” sectors—are seeing 10 to 20 times more orders. This has led a few merchants to put their Amazon accounts on “vacation” mode to temporarily pause orders.
  • Other sellers have lost control over their supply chain.
  • Many have inventory that they can no longer sell, whether from changes to Amazon FBA rules or government regulations mandating closure of businesses.

To provide some clarity, we dug into GMV trends by category. Our research includes sales data across US marketplaces (including Amazon, Walmart, eBay and Facebook Marketplace) since the outbreak. The below graph breaks down GMV trends by category and across five key events related to the outbreak. 

gif of ecommerce sales trends during coronavirus pandemic

Our observations can be summed up simply: essentials are up and nonessentials are down. But a few categories took us by surprise. 

“Outdoors” is up almost 500% since the first announcements of COVID at the end of 2019.

sales trend in the outdoors category during coronavirus \

Read More: Sales are soaring for these particular outdoor products...

"Pet Supplies" have also started to take off since the US declared a national emergency.

sales trend in the pet supply category coronavirus

It’s important to note that certain categories have seen more erosion than others to their supply chains. Some merchants were limited in the number of packages they could send to the post office, throttling the number of orders they could fulfill. It’s a unique time and we’re advising merchants however we’re able to help them make it through this pandemic.

Steps You Can Take Today

  1. One quick and free thing you can do today is make sure your listings on Amazon are optimized, so they're easy to find amid all the clutter. We have a free Amazon Listing Checker that will tell you exactly what you can do to improve the quality of your product listings. If you’d like us to run this for your entire product catalog, reach out and we’d be happy to help.
  2. Zentail CEO Daniel Sugarman recently spoke with Business Insider on the importance of being nimble at times like this and establishing processes that can increase your control over your inventory, revenue streams and working capital.

    “Now more than ever [merchants] need to be extremely thoughtful. Everything has changed, and one poorly informed purchase decision can lead to insolvency. This is the latest wake up call for sellers to reduce their reliance on Amazon as their only sales channel and fulfillment partner. In general you don’t want your business to be entirely reliant on the whims of one company.”
  3. If you have anything you need help with during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact hello@zentail.com. We’re helping to manage billions of GMV already and are happy to offer our assistance however way we can. Stay safe.

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written by:

Paul Capriolo

Director of Growth

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