How has coronavirus affected Amazon sales in the UK and Italy so far

With entire countries going into lock-down and many companies deciding to let their employees work from home, Amazon’s sales have recently skyrocketed. Although the pandemic has brought many companies to question how they intend to keep up sales during this time, Amazon need not worry so much.

"As brands around the world experience a very diverse impact on their sales - from skyrocketing demand to significant declines - the perception of the crisis depends on who you ask. While only 22.2% are strongly positive about the next 3 months, 59% believe that eCommerce will be the big winner in the long-term."​

- Franz Jordan, Sellics CEO

As is common with public health scares, panic buying has rapidly increased and Amazon is the perfect marketplace to meet the challenge. Not only is it known as the everything store but, unlike physical stores, people don’t have to leave their homes and risk infection. Moreover, with benefits such as Prime delivery and its authority over other online marketplaces, Amazon can deliver straight to your door in record time. Below are some insights that Chris Mole, the CEO of Molzi has discovered regarding how the coronavirus has indeed affected Amazon sales, in most accounts, for the better.

What’s happening in the UK with consumer search behaviour on Amazon?
  • Last week, as health advice from the government hit the media and the UK started to see European nations becoming severe, searches for ‘hand sanitiser’ went from what is usually a few hundred searches per month to over 212,000 estimated monthly searches. Roughly half of the top 100 search terms last week were for hand sanitising products.
  • Electronics and computers have become priority categories as citizens gear up to work from home, with searches for ‘laptops’, ‘monitors’ and ‘webcams’ entering the top 100 search terms. 
  • Panic buying in stores has led shoppers to take to Amazon to look for ‘bulk toilet paper’, ‘pasta’, ‘rice’ and ‘chocolate’.
  • Other high-demand items include ‘playstation games’, ‘Fitbits’, ‘Lego’ and ‘kettles’. 
Products and categories in the UK doing well in spite of the crisis are…
  • Laptops are having a massive unexpected peak as organisations and people gear up to work from home – businesses in the UK are responsible for supplying equipment for home-workers, so many have had to bulk buy to make sure their workforce can operate. We’ve seen orders as large as 100 items for a single business customer this week.
  • Healthcare items like probiotics are doing record sales – both new customers looking to improve their health, and existing customers looking to stock-pile in case they need to self-isolate, or perhaps in response to panic-buying. 
  • Petcare products are doing well, again likely due to stock-piling. We will have to prepare for a downturn at some point when those customers work their way through stock piles. 
  • FMCG brands are doing very well – items like toothpaste, cleaning products and deodorants are all seeing volume orders and sales. Again, in some cases we may have to prepare for a downturn as shoppers work through their stock piles, but in some cases like cleaning products, hand wash, people will be using more as a focus on hygiene and sterilisation is heavily reinforced by the media. 
  • Baby products, electronics and air purifiers are also doing well.
  • We are expecting that as the UK moves towards a potential quarantine and now that schools are closing, shoppers will start to look for items to keep kids and families entertained, so toy and fitness brands should stock up and look to offer promotions. 
Search trends in Italy from the same period mid-March show that…
  • The DIY & Tools category is doing well with a third of the top 100 search terms relating to items like latex gloves and specialist masks. Shoppers are snapping up trade masks as medical and surgical masks run out. In Italy, masks have been a priority with the civil protection department getting hundreds of thousands sent in by other countries. They have issued and recommended ‘ffp2’ and ‘ffp3 masks’ for front-line workers as these are safer than surgical masks. It appears that in the throes of the outbreak, PPE is critical. 
  • Search terms around items in Health & Personal Care show an increase in items related to detection and treatment for the virus such as oximeters, alcohol and medical thermometers. Other searches in this category include vitamin c, hand sanitiser and antibacterial masks.
  • Fitness is a priority – searches for dumbbells, gym mats and more generically ‘home gym equipment’ increased. Italy had more fitness-related search terms in their top 100 than the UK last week due to the lock down. Items included cardio items like skipping ropes as citizens are being persuaded out of public parks and beaches.
  • Citizens are gearing up to work from home as searches for laptops, printers and even desks increase. Accessories such as headphones are also top of search although this is not massively out of the ordinary for Amazon. 
  • Shoppers are buying essentials from the grocery category like toilet paper, pasta and rice, and looking for ‘pantry offers’ – sellers mustn’t forget that in addition to the worry of not getting what they need, consumers may be worried about income so it’s a good time to run deals on in-stock items to ensure everyone gets the things they need!  
  • Entertainment is becoming a priority – shoppers are looking for ‘books’, ‘board games’, ‘puzzles’, ‘game consoles’ and ‘lego’ to keep themselves and families occupied during the quarantine.
Amazon search trends during the coronavirus crisis
How should brands (both Sellers and Vendors) react to the crisis and what are Molzi doing to help? 
  • Vendors may be in a difficult position as many have seen that Amazon are restricting deliveries into warehouses to essential items until 5th April. We expect to see large orders of the non-prioritised products after the restriction is lifted.
  • Sellers should switch to FBM and SFP where possible. 
  • Advertising budgets for high-demand items should be increased and promotions set-up to ensure shoppers can find and get the items they need. 
  • We’re monitoring stock levels and search trends and helping our clients forecast as shoppers move to online purchasing. 
  • We’re also staying close to supply chains and going to have to work closely with our clients to ensure no over stocks are built up on the other end of this.
  • There is a lot of chat about brands increasing pricing and taking advantage of shoppers in need. The reason for price increases is more likely to be supply-chain related, but there is an opportunity for brands who can afford it to be altruistic and offer deals on high-demand items – this would benefit brand reputation at a time of heightened empathy!
Don’t let coronavirus halt your Amazon sales

There are many uncertainties when it comes to the coronavirus including how businesses will cope under the pressure of national shutdowns, but experts claim that COVID-19 will still plague the globe until at least the summer. This means brands must think about how they will avoid bankruptcy until then. Businesses are having to deal with selling within a new domain which not only is virus-conscious but is becoming restricted to national borders and isolation. 

At Molzi we understand that to be successful, we must look at the positives found within such horrid times. One such positive is that of increased Amazon sales. Amazon is the perfect avenue for some brands to use as a go-between for them and the self-isolating consumer. Find out how our account management team can help you make the most of such a drastic situation today. Contact us to get a free audit for your brand today and discover what we can do for you.

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