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This article is part of a series on COVID-19 focusing on how the outbreak is affecting industries.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having an unprecedented impact on consumer markets around the world, due to the number of individuals working from home or unable to leave their homes. This has placed a tremendous burden on the infrastructure of e-commerce retailers as consumers look to purchase necessary goods from their home and remain dependent on their country’s delivery infrastructure and supply chains.
With Euromonitor International’s new global e-commerce product and price monitoring platform, Via, extracting millions of data points every day for standardised cross-comparison quickly reveals what product categories are selling out during key periods of the coronavirus outbreak as well as the dramatic implications these demand drivers are having on online retail pricing for select categories.
Using Via, we were able to quickly and easily examine nearly a million daily data observations for a three-week period across leading e-commerce retailers in the chosen markets. Moreover, the data clearly shows how the availability of selected categories and their pricing dynamics has changed during this period.
For this report, a select basket of daily goods has been chosen for observation based on Euromonitor International’s industry knowledge of fast-moving consumer goods alongside local knowledge from research analysts on the ground in each market reporting on local market supply chain issues and COVID-19 impacted product categories.
Alongside category scope, the million daily data observations used for this analysis are pulled from key online retailers across each market and represent a significant portion of e-commerce availability in each country.
As the COVID-19 situation in China continues to improve and lockdown restrictions ease, off-trade demand for beer is rising again as friends and family begin to gather together and socialise again. Online out-of-stock levels for beer increased between 12 April and 3 May, with a strong rise leading up to the May Day holiday period and long weekend. The online median price per SKU for beer and RTDs experienced a significant drop from 12 April to 3 May 2020. This was due to heavy promotional activity from both manufacturers and online retailers looking to sell-off stocks before product expiration dates. Meanwhile, online median SKU prices for spirits and wine were fairly stable as the longer shelf life for both products reduces the need for price promotions to help shift merchandise before it passes its sell-by date.
In Singapore, demand for easy to cook staples such as dried pasta has grown as an increasing number of people are cooking at home rather than eating out. This has led to an increase in online prices as well as out-of-stock levels. Meanwhile, other daily household essentials like tissue and hygiene products remain in high demand as the focus on home and personal hygiene continues to be elevated.
Taiwan saw several days with no new confirmed COVID-19 cases between 12 April and 3 May, which is helping consumers to feel more optimistic about the situation. They are also gradually returning to pre-crisis behaviour and habits, including shifting back to shopping in-store rather than online. As a result, online pricing and product availability have remained fairly stable, with a few exceptions.
• China: Mark Miao
• Singapore: Sahiba Puri
• Taiwan: Christina Chien and Vicky Huang