It wouldn’t be too soon for me to call out on COVID-19, a global pandemic as declared by the World Health Organization, it will likely be one of the defining events of 2020 with its implications that will last for years to come! With the situation rapidly worsening, the number of people safe to gather in a single place has dwindled from thousands to hundreds, to nearly ten. Life has come to a big long halt with the lockdown in almost all the countries; Local markets, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and gyms are all shut now. On the other hand, people working from home are coming across many new challenges of working remotely full time.
Would it be too mean of me to say that essentially, people are coming to terms with the realities of our interconnected world and how difficult it is to temporarily lose those connections? One of the responses we’ve seen to how people are approaching this period of isolation and uncertainty is in huge overnight changes to their shopping behaviors. From bulk-buying to online shopping, people are changing what they’re buying, when, and how. Nonessential businesses are being closed, and all this is in the interest of public health for people to avoid social gatherings in any form. Limiting shopping for all but, the necessary essentials has become the new normal.
So, are the brands adapting to these changing needs? Are they flexible enough for such times? I witnessed people responded by stocking up. They bought out medical supplies especially hand sanitizer and masks plus household essentials like toilet paper. This left both, brick-and-mortar and online stores struggling to keep up with such an instant rise in the demand, prices were to shoot up of course.
Humans respond to crises in different ways. We tend to do most of the things out of the defense reflex mechanism whenever put across a difficult and uncertain situation. These psychological factors are responsible for the famous term – “retail therapy” in times of personal crises; however, during a pandemic, there are added layers to it. One is that the global spread of COVID-19 has been accompanied by a lot of contradictory information.
Second, there is this crowd mentality. Seeing other people stacking up their shelves resulting in a scarcity of necessary products which obviously makes everyone do the same thing.
But, have you given a thought to the eCommerce space during all the crisis lately? eCommerce activity, especially related to health and grocery, has shown a surge all across the globe in general. According to data from eCommerce ad tech provider Pacvue, there have been surges in Amazon searches for products like hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap. Digital shoppers are also willing to wait for the products that they need with longer delivery windows in order to avoid going to stores, where inventory may be limited anyway.
That’s proving to be a blessing in disguise and beneficial and challenging at the same time for e-retailers like Amazon. The click madness is likely to bring in more paid search dollars, but as supply chain issues build up, third-party sellers are looking for ways to limit the impact by reducing their ad spendings.
With the majority of retailers closing stores temporarily, we’re likely to see a huge shift to online shopping in many sectors. So let’s take a look at some important sectors and how this whole situation is affecting them.
A quick look at a handful of categories:
1. Travel & Hospitality
Combined downloads of the world’s top 45 OTA (online travel agencies) apps and hotel services shared by Apptopia saw a rapid reduction beginning as early as late January when the first cases of COVID-19 created panic among travelers. This trend further amplified in late February and then early March with different countries imposing travel restrictions, not just incoming but also outbound.
The hospitality industry is fighting with a downward shift in the graph as well. Here’s the global data for new users checking into the world’s top 5 hotel chains. The decline in the hospitality industry starts around the first week of March, breaking the record of being on an all-time low in the past 3 months. The fact is the hospitality industry may be among the hardest hit by the pandemic, to be honest.
2. Video Calling & Conferencing Apps
With companies enforcing work from home policies, the upward soar in video conferencing apps was definitely expected. However, one such player in the industry that came as a surprise was Zoom. It emerged as a leader in this cohort with an unmatched rise as compared to other platforms, its new user grew base by almost 300% since March 8th, ever since work from home and social distancing policies came into effect. And is then followed by none other than the oldies in the industry – Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts.
We are only expecting a continuous rise if we talk about the downloads of such apps in the coming weeks, considering the given situation.
3. Online Shopping
In the wave of panic shopping and lockdown in major cities of the world, self – quarantine and social distancing have resulted in inflation in user activity on online shopping apps in the United States. eCommerce and online retail mobile apps have seen a steady increase in new and active users since the first week of March 2020.
Talking about Online wholesale mobile apps, they have shown a similar trend; And the United States isn’t the only region showing a steady increase in online shopping. There is an interesting graph of India – more users have started spending on e-commerce and online grocery apps since January 2020. In fact, there is almost a 50% hike.
Our team has been working remotely
Our entire team at Wigzo has been working from home taking corrective actions to ensure the safety and well being of all concerned. I urge you to do the same.
We will be as responsive as before
Our customers are first. Crisis or not, we aren’t changing that one thing. Please be assured that it’s business as usual with us. In fact, for all practical purposes, our processes are functioning remotely at 100% efficiency.
Our customer support function will continue to run 24*7 via email, chat and web queries. services. If you feel we aren’t doing enough, please reach out to me. I am happy to take it up personally and be of help.
In this together!
We have a niche team carved out of specialists for multiple functions. This team is committed to resolving issues. Given that most businesses are running slow, we thought it might be the right time to direct some of your resources towards finishing the last step on that pending integration, or, going live. Our team is going to help you identify and execute those opportunities even now. Our customer success leader, Saad Junaidi will be your contact point to get everything and anything resolved for you.