Coronavirus: Western Europe Price and Availability Insights, 10th-31st May 2020

This article is part of a series on COVID-19 focusing on how the outbreak is affecting industries.

Coronavirus: Western Europe Price and Availability Insights, 10-31 May 2020

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.

View our latest report to see how COVID-19 is affecting pricing and product availability in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

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 consumers 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.

Key findings from this report

Following the easing of nationwide COVID-19 lockdown measures in France on 11 May, online sales for spirits and wine received a sudden and notable boost according to local reports following several weeks of moribund performance. Online out-of-stock rates for spirits were at their highest between 10-16 May, and also peaked for sparkling wine and still rosé wine on 13 May. The opportunity to meet with friends and family beyond one’s immediate household after 11 May was a key driver behind this sudden sales revival, but it may not last for long.

After almost three months of lockdown, many Germans have adapted to the new reality, adjusting their routines to fit social distancing and lockdown measures. After an initial rush of panic buying and stockpiling essentials, demand is returning to normal. However, demand for hygiene and health-related products remains strong, leading to persistently high online out-of-stock rates.

As Italy entered “Phase 2” of its COVID-19 management strategy in May, with an initial loosening of restrictions, online demand for consumer goods has been stabilising. Online grocery shopping is traditionally low in Italy, but COVID-19 has helped e-commerce to grow and to develop food innovation further.

Spanish consumers are shopping online more, even for basic goods such as adult incontinence products and toilet paper. This continued shift to e-commerce channels is due to the discomfort that many shoppers feel about visiting physical stores. While online retailers are improving their product availability, this shift does sometimes cause temporary availability issues for more popular products, leading to sudden but short-lived online price fluctuations.

Authors:
• France: Nina Tiquet
• Germany: Iselie Iglesias
• Italy: Stefano Botter
• Spain: Marc Alonso