Top 10 Ranking: Alcoholic Drinks Product Availability during Coronavirus

Between 14th-28th September, Japan, China and the UK saw the biggest drops in the number of online SKUs available across alcoholic drinks, specifically for wine, spirits and beer. China appears three times in the top 5 for the biggest percentage point increase in out-of-stock rate (OOS%), for RTDs, spirits and wine. This mirrors the trend from earlier in the year, as countries start to face second waves or lockdowns and bars close or implement earlier closing times. In turn, we’re seeing increased consumer demand for alcoholic drinks purchased online to consume at home. China appears on both rankings for increased OOS% and decreasing SKU counts, showing that retailers are both removing product pages and listing more out of stocks, as online demand increases.

In terms of increasing SKU availability, wine and spirits in France saw a big increase in SKUs available online, as did wine in Spain and Brazil and spirits in Germany and Brazil. In terms of improving OOS%, the rates aren’t as steep, with retailers mainly increasing the available SKUs online during this time period. Chile and Brazil saw the biggest percentage changes in SKU availability during this time.

Getting product assortment and availability right is challenging at the best of times. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on consumer markets worldwide, with many people working from home or unable to leave their homes.

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

Some markets have been more resilient than others or already had more robust e-commerce networks in place. Looking at a snapshot of out of stock and SKU availability gives you a view of how different markets are handling the challenges that the pandemic has brought to online retailing.

When tracking product availability, it is important to track both out of stock % and number of available SKUs as they result in two very different shopping experiences. To deal with increased demand during the pandemic, some retailers removed SKU pages altogether, reducing the number of available SKUs instead of listing SKUs as out of stock. If out of stock rates are low, but the number of available SKUs is rapidly decreasing, it creates confusion for the shopper to see SKUs being removed without notification. On the other hand, if out of stock rates are high but the number of SKUs remains stable, then shoppers are more informed about the overall availability of products on a retailer’s website.

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.