Covid-19 effect: The e-comm winners and losers

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on March 22, 2020

The rising incidence of COVID-19 that has resulted in a sharp drop in footfalls across the country along with a significant spike in people working from home, has impacted e-commerce businesses differentially.

E-tailing and hyperlocal businesses including Grocery, E-pharma, Home & Furniture, Fashion, Beauty & Personal Care, Smartphone/Electronics, registered 45-50 per cent growth in GMV overall in the first two weeks of March (1st to 15th) compared to the same period in February, as per estimates from RedSeer Consulting.

However, GMV of online services businesses including Mobility (45-50%), Hotel-tech (60-65%), Food Delivery (10-20%), Movie and Event Ticketing (75-80%) took a hit with falling GMV growth.

“Some of this growth in GMV was also driven by regular monthly factors because February in general, is a slower month for e-commerce, compared to March. After hectic buying during the festive season sale period, consumer spend in e-commerce usually slows down in January and February. However, it picks up in March, fuelled by festival spend starting from Holi and through Ugadi” said Anil Kumar, founder CEO, RedSeer Consulting.

Increase and decrease

At the top end, Personal Care saw a 120-130 per cent increase in GMV, largely driven by the sale of sanitisers and hygiene products followed by Grocery which saw a steep increase of 110-115 per cent in GMV as people started stocking up on staples and supplies in order to avoid visits to the supermarkets and local stores. E-pharma saw 50-60 per cent growth led by strong growth in e-consultations and sharp demand spike for prescription medicines.

Interestingly, Home & Furniture saw a 15-20 per cent increase in GMV with increasing sales of small ticket items like home decor, linen, bed/bath accessories; Fashion saw a 30-35 per cent increase as people most likely spent more time browsing apps while working from home.

While there was a general decline in demand for large ticket items in Electronics, work from home led to increased demand for laptops and smartphone accessories, resulting in GMV increase of 20-25 per cent.

In Mobility, decline in cabs services took the highest beating followed by autos from the first week itself. The bike market also started contracting this week.

After an initial spike in the first week, food delivery declined in the second week and is expected to decline further, as people stop ordering in and start cooking at home. Limited travel and work from home took down GMV of the Hotel-tech business and with restrictions on Malls/Cinema Halls, ticketing was one of the worst hit segments of online services.

Published on March 21, 2020

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