E-commerce unable to profit from corona crisis

E-commerce unable to profit from corona crisis

Despite the fact that many physical stores are closed or limited, German online sales in March were 20 % lower than a year earlier. There are, however, huge differences between different sectors.


Winners and losers

On average, German online sales have dropped a whopping 18.1 % in March, compared to the same month last year. In January and February, there was a 1.5 % drop, the German Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel Deutschland reports. "Online services" (including tickets for travelling and events) was hit the hardest, with an astonishing 76 % turnover drop. Luxury items like watches and jewelry take a huge hit as well (- 51.6 %), but fashion (- 35.4 %) and shoes (- 31.1 %) suffered too.


"As e-commerce now is regarded a normal shopping channel, a consumer confidence crisis is also felt in our sales. The misconception that e-commerce as a whole is a winner in this corona pandemic, is just totally wrong", BEVD president Gero Furchheim said. However, there are a few winners standing out: medicine sales went up 88 %, while online food sales jumped 56 % forward. Drugstores (+ 29 %) and DIY chains (+ 8 %) gained ground as well.


Belgian numbers seem to point in the same direction: the winners are webshops who sell items that can make life at home during lockdown more pleasant or useful. Online sellers of laptops, headsets and yoga mats see huge turnover hikes; fashion webshops notice a substantial negative evolution - even though that is obviously a lot less dramatic than the evolution at physical fashion stores.