Food delivery driver on a bicycle

The top e-commerce product categories during Corona

At first, the pandemic made some people emptying grocery shelves, then pushed a lot of customers to once again acknowledge the advantages of shopping via internet. The ongoing transition to purchasing goods online led merchants to upgrade their online stores.

For them, it is important to learn from the period between March and April to be prepared for upcoming events. Crucial questions are amongst others: what type of products were purchased in isolation? Which categories grew and which dropped? How did different markets develop?

A survey conducted by Statista compares product categories during lockdown in Germany and UK. It tries to analyze how consumers’ preferences intersect, where they differ and how they developed after the lockdown ended.

Top 6 ecommerce product categories during lockdown

As shown above, consumers moved online for necessities as well as lifestyle products and started paying more attention to their home environment in isolation. While categories like apparel, healthcare, books and games were almost of the same importance for consumers in Germany and UK, we can also see some differences regarding shoppers’ preferences in the two countries.

Especially food delivery stands out here: while only 10 percent of the questioned German consumers shifted their habits from offline to online, almost one-third of the questioned UK customers did. One could assume that German customers simply are not as used to getting food delivery as their UK neighbors.

Berlin based meal-kit provider Hello Fresh is a representative case for the success of the overall food delivery category:  When the first lockdown started, the stock price of HelloFresh went below 20 Euro on the German stock market. Briefly after, it increased to almost 50 Euro at the beginning of July and presently (November 2020)  stands at a value of 47 Euro. Overall, the company has more than tripled its profit in the past quarter thanks to the strong growth during and after the pandemic. According to German Ecommerce association BEVH’s latest study no other sector in Ecommerce had such high growth rates in the third quarter of 2020 as food delivery services (+50%).

Although product categories like books, games and consumer electronics showed an increase between March and April, they developed significantly weaker than the overall market after the lockdown. They grew only by 6.1 percent to €6,079 m (3. Q. €2019: 5.730 m) according to above mentioned report. This might be, because consumers had the opportunity to spend their leisure time differently after the lockdown ended.

During November, both Germany and the UK undergo a second lockdown. With Christmas around the corner, it will be interesting to see how the different categories will develop or if new high growth categories arise. One thing though is certain: The share of E-Commerce in most categories will profit from Covid-19 and not go back to the same level than before. This forces merchants to improve their E-Shops.

According Adobe’s “Online Shopping Trends 2020” (08/2020), 30 percent of shoppers complained about slow loading product pages and 26 percent were not happy about long checkout processes. Here, the right payment-mix is one central tool how to increase conversion.