How Covid-19 has accelerated the expansion of E-commerce


The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been felt across the world and has affected almost every aspect of our society. The loss of human life has been devastating and the economic consequences are sure to be felt for years to come.

While many businesses have struggled, especially those with a strong high-street presence, E-commerce has seen a major boom in activity. Its evolution had shown signs of rapid development even before Covid-19, but the circumstances around the outbreak mean that global E-commerce sales rose to $26.7 trillion in 2020.

So, what are the factors that have contributed to E-commerce’s acceleration since the pandemic took hold?

The closure of high-street stores

When lockdown restrictions were first announced, that meant nearly all aspects of everyday life ground to a halt. That included shopping in physical stores, as people all over the world were required to stay at home. The rules dictated that even visits to supermarkets should be limited to once a week for essential supplies. As a result, those seeking to purchase any products were forced to do their spending online.

Enhanced digitalisation

With lots of time to kill stuck in their homes, people spent increasing amounts of time online. This created further opportunities for targeted ads and marketing, which in turn drove a greater volume of sales. The necessity to shop online meant consumers became more familiar with sales platforms and payment methods and that increased level of trust worked in the brands’ favour.

Businesses adapting their strategy

That sudden and seismic shift to online shopping meant businesses across all sectors had to react quickly – especially those with a lack of a digital presence. To continue to drive sales, companies had to harness platforms such as Shopify so that their customers could stay loyal to their favourite brands and not be forced into looking elsewhere.

An extra source of income

With the pandemic causing a great deal of financial uncertainty, many sought out ways to supplement their income. One of those was to sell unwanted items online or set up small business ventures that relied on digital sales.

Heightened anxiety around returning to the high street

Even once restrictions were lifted and physical stores reopened, many still had concerns over returning to such busy environments. Fears around catching or transmitting the virus remained, and for a lot of people that was enough to deter them from heading back into town and city centres. Many had simply come to enjoy the convenience of online shopping – a trend that looks set to endure as the expansion of E-commerce continues.


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