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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 China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Italy. 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.
In China, the price of medicine both online and in-store has stabilised thanks to strong government intervention. However, online out-of-stock levels remain high due to consumers seeking both Western OTC and traditional Chinese medicine products that may protect against COVID-19, and because of the Spring cold season.
Hong Kong recorded a spike in COVID-19 cases from returning tourists and students and as a result, consumers are stocking back up on essentials. While bleach, home care disinfectants and rice remained abundant in offline channels, consumers shopped online more for safety and convenience, leading to high out-of-stock rates.
In South Korea, the e-commerce market continued to grow as the government declared stricter social distancing rules and consumers continued limiting their movement. Despite rising demand, supply and delivery logistics have stood up and online prices remain generally stable and panic-buying has been largely minimal.