Corona crisis in online retail: Many industries were hit hard – and some even harder

Stores are closing, unemployment rate goes up or short: economy shrinks. And that is something online retail has experienced in the last weeks as well, despite already looking as one of the winners after COVID-19. But as a great amount of uncertainty is currently out there, there is an even stronger need for smarter, optimised and adapted strategies in order to position in the best possible way in the crisis aftermath.

Europe. It has been weeks now, since we are all facing the effects of governmental restrictions on both our social and economic life – and retail is no exception to that. Overall, it seems crystal clear that purchases are shifting further towards online sales, in the future even more so. Even pure online retailers can certainly feel that people are less willing to buy certain product categories and the reason for that is quite simple: There is less money available in total. Not to speak of long-term investments that are, for obvious reasons, not demanded when times are exceptionally uncertain as lately.

In the beginning of social distancing and home office, industries such as toys & baby articles, motor vehicle parts and pet food increased their ad spendings massively. Basically every product that was and is needed on a daily basis faced quite a boost when analysing ad spend and performance data of Google Shopping (Europe). On the contrary, financial services and insurances, job and price comparison platforms and events & ticketing showed the highest decreases in their key paid search metrics. So, this was that.

Now, after we have all spent quite some time at home, the data clearly shows overall losses across industries: At an aggregate level, CPCs for Google Shopping and text ads are on a weekslong YoY downward trend, most recently at -18.5%. While the details vary per industry, there are no major exceptions to the trend, but rather variations on it: for example, consumer electronics exceeds the average decrease at -30% while health & beauty remains a bit closer to the 2019 benchmark at -11%.

It is definitely tough times for many industries but those who are capable of and willing to adapt their strategies online still might recover faster.

Data source: smec Market Observer

The smec Market Observer is our contribution to current events in the context of COVID-19 and the resulting uncertainty for online retailers and business people. Since 2 April 2020, we provide you with regular updates and a reliable data source that is available online – no registration needed, no cost: https://smarter-ecommerce.com/de/smec-market-observer/

Here, online retailers, paid search experts and media partners can see the most important KPIs for paid search ads displayed on the big search results pages. More specifically, the smec Market Observer shows you the ad spend and other key metrics such as CPC, conversion rate, impressions etc. of Google Ads (Europe) – listed for a variety of different industries. In addition, the smec Market Observer includes CPC (cost-per-click), WoW and YoY clicks plus more key metrics of Microsoft Advertising for Germany and the UK.

The smec Market Observer therefore enables you to assess recent developments in online retail and adapt your promotion and sales strategies in the PPC field. But also for journalists and media partners, smec – Smarter Ecommerce provides deep insights and indicators for evaluating current events and their implications for a potential shift purchasing behaviour and online retail in a broader sense – including regular updates from experienced experts.