Covid-19: E-commerce demand up 130%

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This is a continuation of our Covid-19 series where we discuss the impacts of the pandemic on different areas of the supply chain and consumer behaviour.

In this sixth post of the series we look into the impact on demand via e-commerce sales channels. 

Other posts in the series:

 

E-commerce demand

Since the start of the pandemic, a lot of people have been asking us ‘how’s e-commerce holding up?’ and our general response has been positive. But we decided it was time to put some real figures out there for what we have seen.

For companies* on the Kickpay platform, we looked at the following on a weekly basis for 2019 vs 2020:

  • Order numbers: total amount of orders per week
  • Total sales: total sales ($) value per week
  • Average order value (AOV): total sales value / total number of orders per week

Up until week 11 2020 (March 9th – March 15th, 2020) order numbers, sales and AOV were similar between 2019 and 2020. After that, 2020 demand accelerated.

From week 11 through week 16 (mid-April), order numbers were up 92%, total sales were up 130%, and AOV had increased 20%, peaking at 40% in week 12.

Figure 1. Weekly order, sales value and AOV of e-commerce companies on Kickpay platform.

This data backs up some hypotheses about how resilient e-commerce is in the current pandemic. Consumers have likely embraced it because 1) they have no other retail option with brick and mortar stores shut down, 2) they need new purchases for their homes during “Shelter in Place” (office furniture, gyms, etc.) and 3) pure boredom – without any other social stimulus they turn to online shopping for entertainment.

 

Overall demand

Now that we have an idea of how e-commerce is reacting to the current situation, is there any data to suggest how demand has been impacted across major industries? In short, yes. We can use the ISM Manufacturing Index (previously called the Purchase Managers Index – PMI) to get an idea of demand in the economy as a whole.

The ISM Manufacturing Index measures monthly purchasing activity by surveying purchasing managers at 300 manufacturing firms across 17 industrial sectors including chemical products, computer, and electronic products, and transportation equipment.

Investopedia gives a description on how the Index is calculated:

“The ISM manufacturing index is a composite index that gives equal weighting to new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries, and inventories. Each factor is seasonally adjusted. An index of more than 50 indicates expansion of the manufacturing segment of the economy in comparison with the previous month while a reading of 50 indicates no change and a reading below 50 suggests a contraction of the manufacturing sector.”

In April’s report the index dropped to 41.5 – the lowest point since 2009 – from 49.1 in March.

Figure 2. 25 year view of the ISM Manufacuting Index (PMI), tracked by https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/business-confidence

The drastic drop on the ISM Manufacturing Index suggests that the wider economy isn’t doing as well e-commerce, which has seen a significant improvement year over year. The question now stands, how long can these gains continue and are they here to stay?

Interested in getting financing for your e-commerce company? Come say 👋 to the Kickpay team here just add your email to the bottom of the page.

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