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As cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) start to rise again globally, demand for home care products is increasing, due to consumers cleaning their homes more often both due to hygiene reasons and because they are working and cooking at home.
Between 28th September – 12th October, bleach and multipurpose cleaners saw some of the biggest fluctuations in the number of available SKUs online and out-of-stock rates (OOS%) across all home care categories.
Turkey, Japan and Germany saw the biggest decrease in the number of available online SKUs for bleach, hand dishwashing products and multi-purpose cleaners. Canada also appears twice in the top 10 ranking for decreasing SKU count for hand dishwashing and multi-purpose cleaners. New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and Austria saw the biggest percentage point increase in OOS%, for bleach, multi-purpose cleaners and hand dishwashing. This shows the different strategies being employed by retailers to cope with demand, with some countries listing products as out of stock and others removing SKU pages completely.
South Korea and France seem to be improving their online product availability, with the biggest increase in the number of online SKUs available. China appears three times on the ranking for the most improved OOS% for bleach, multipurpose cleaners and home care disinfectants.
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.