Coronavirus: Changes in Consumer Health E-commerce Availability, January – December 2020

Read our report: Coronavirus: Changes in Consumer Health E-commerce Availability, January – December 2020

Countries around the world have all been impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the implications that it is having on various industries have been profound.

Many consumers turned to online shopping as the best way to minimise the risk of infection, but the pandemic also saw many consumers engaging in stockpiling behaviour which led to extreme product shortages. In turn, this placed a tremendous burden on e-commerce retailers’ supply chains and logistical infrastructure.

Some markets were more resilient than others or already had more robust e-commerce networks in place. Examining out-of-stock rates and SKU availability by industry gives you a view of how different markets handled the challenges that the pandemic brought to online retailing.

Key findings from the report

The global average out-of-stock rate (OOS%) for consumer health products sold online was 4% for the entirety of 2020. However, countries such as Israel, South Korea, Chile, Turkey and Thailand were significantly lower with OOS% rates below 1%.

Monitoring changes in the number of available SKUs sold online shows that, excluding South Korea, global consumer health product availability has declined by 6% from January to December due to the COVID-19 outbreak. China, in particular, saw the number of available SKUs decline by 74% from January to December.

One of the most in-demand products during the COVID-19 outbreak in consumer health was eye care products as consumers around the world were forced to stay in more and increase their screen usage from working from home as well as assisting in e-education. As a result, products that alleviate eye pain such as red eye products saw higher-than-average rates of OOS% and changes in available SKUs worldwide.

Within the US, suppliers such as Abbott Laboratories, Procter & Gamble and Otsuka Holdings were able to provide stronger online product availability compared to other leading US consumer healthcare suppliers. Conversely, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline and Bayer AG saw their products having higher-than-average OOS% rates and declines in available SKUs across a variety of US e-commerce retailers from January to December.

Read our latest report to see how COVID-19 affected the consumer health industry from January to December 2020.

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 more than 20 million daily SKU observations across leading e-commerce retailers in 40 countries. Moreover, the data clearly shows how the availability of selected categories and their pricing dynamics has changed during this period. Use our Coronavirus: Pricing and Availability Tracker to learn more.