How the world’s marketplaces have responded to Covid-19
The past six weeks have seen an unprecedented period of e-commerce worldwide, as businesses and consumers alike strive to find solutions during an increasingly challenging pandemic.
Non-essential bricks and mortar stores have closed and social distancing has seen enormous queues at supermarkets, so it’s not surprising that online shopping is booming, particularly in the grocery, healthcare and pet food sectors.
For online marketplaces, the pandemic presents an opportunity to win the trust of both consumers and sellers. Sales on marketplace sites, such as Amazon, Alibaba, eBay and others, accounted for 58% of global web sales in 2019, and this looks set to rise in an e-commerce landscape that’s constantly evolving.
How have the world’s marketplace giants responded to this crisis to deliver essential supplies and help keep businesses afloat?
Amazon — 5.7 billion visits per month
Having initially suspended non-essential orders, Amazon chiefs have hired more than 100,000 staff, with 75,000 more on the way in order to receive, restock, and deliver a wide range of products to customers more quickly and continue increasing delivery window availability.
New data has emerged to show that Amazon’s online grocery arm could produce $70 billion in gross merchandise volume by 2023 — more than three times the total in 2019.
Amazon Web Services has invested $20 million to accelerate diagnostic research, innovation, and development to improve understanding and detection of COVID-19.
On average, consumers order items from Amazon 6.5 times a month.
Alibaba — 1.3 billion visits per month
The Chinese powerhouse that owns Taobao, TMall and AliExpress has answered the call for urgent supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) and general medical supplies, shipping more than 40 million items to 150 countries.
The pandemic is bringing in new European customers, with their AliExpress app amongst the most downloaded shopping apps across countries such as Spain, France and Poland.
Alibaba Cloud, the data intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, has received universal praise for offering credits to organisations enabling them to buy its Elastic Compute Service, as well as cybersecurity services.
eBay — 1.6 billion visits per month
eBay UK provided a lifeline for struggling small businesses who don’t currently sell on the marketplace by removing listing and selling fees until June.
MercadoLibre — 661.7 million visits per month
Latin America’s largest marketplace waived fees for sellers of essential products until the end of March, providing a much-needed boost to over 21,000 vendors selling over 252,000 basic cleaning, personal hygiene and non-perishable food products.
MercadoLibre has reported accelerating growth at a triple-digit pace in certain categories. Its pharmacy and home and laundry sales in Mexico rose a whopping 114% and 403%, respectively. MercadoLibre is no stranger to impressive growth, with gross merchandise volume in Mexico up 53% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2019.
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