Corona effect on online marketplaces

COVID-19 changes consumer spending on online marketplaces – sanitizers dominate as Amazon search terms

Big online marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart have been all over the media in the past weeks. While countless employees fear for their jobs as the corona crisis is paralyzing great parts of the U.S. economy, and some 22 million Americans already filed for unemployment benefits, the apparent winners of the crisis keep hiring to cope with the surge in demand for their online services. In March, Amazon and Walmart announced plans to hire more than 100,000 additional employees each. In April, both eCommerce giants went on a second hiring spree as demand was still rising, reportedly hiring a total of 175,000 and 200,000 new workers, respectively.

No wonder, given that the corona crisis made a great part of U.S. consumers increase their spending on online marketplaces, according to a survey by Morning Consult.

Online marketplaces profit from corona

When Morning Consult interviewed 2,200 U.S. adults about their spending habits at the end of March, 37% expected to spend more on goods purchased via online marketplaces like Amazon or Walmart because of the corona pandemic. Only 9% stated that the virus would likely make them spend less on Amazon and similar marketplaces. 47% expected that the outbreak of COVID-19 would have no significant effect on their spending habits on online marketplaces.

Sanitizing product dominate Amazon search terms

An analysis of search terms on Amazon also reveals a stunning corona effect, which goes in line with the above-mentioned change in spending: During the mid-March peak of the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, the top Amazon search terms in the U.S. were dominated by items from the hygiene and sanitizing field. “Toilet paper”, which ranked 37th in calendar week 9, was the top search term on Amazon in the week between March 8 and March 14. “Toilet paper bulk” made an even more impressive leap from rank 2,657 to rank 4. “Clorox wipes” made it from rank 96 into the top 3 within the two weeks in the comparison. “n95 masks” and “hand sanitizer” were already very popular at the end of February and remained similarly popular through March 14.


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May 2020