How is the e-commerce business growing through the pandemic?

Laura Villa Méndez

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The e-commerce businesses are gaining more importance due to the behavior of the new consumer, every day they fulfill all their needs in order to access goods and services that provide benefits and have better characteristics. E-commerce keeps growing thanks to the new generation’s trend of buying online, this improves their lifestyle, which is now being determined by the worldwide pandemic. 

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCDE), e-commerce is “The process of buying, selling or exchanging goods and services through communications channels”. Currently, we are witnessing how this style of business takes over the internet and becomes a successful business model. Usually used by new entrepreneurs or startups. Through e-commerce, some industries have reflected growth despite the conditions created by COVID-19.

The purchases via e-commerce in the United States have increased more than 30% since the beginning of March until mid-April, in comparison to the same time period last year according to the investment firm Rakuten Intelligence. The purchase of books rose 295% in comparison to this period last year, followed by cleaning products, sports goods and outdoor activities, toys and games, and home goods; being the trending products in the e-commerce market. On the contrary, the purchases of jewelry and clothing have decreased. 

The pandemic has been good for online shopping, according to Bloomberg Intelligence, the sales of online retailers in the United States can double for the year 2024, which is an accelerating trend due to the closing of stores caused by the coronavirus. 

Therefore, Latin America is not detached from today’s turbulent market. According to the eMarketer article, Latin America has registered a strong increase, expecting a growth in the sales of retail e-commerce to be 19.4% up to 83.630 million dollars in 2020. Also, it is estimated that 10.8 million consumers will shop online for the first time this year, due to circumstances of the pandemic, which would raise the number of online shoppers to a total of 191.7 million or 38.4% of the population over 14 years old. 

According to Asobancaria, the last five years have shown a 24% increase in the e-commerce market in Colombia, predicting for 2021 that the country will sell over 26.073 million dollars through online shopping. 

The following graphics will show the sales made by e-commerce retailers in both the United States and Latin America, as well as worldwide leading products between 2018 and 2019.

Is it worth it to open an online store in times of pandemic?

An online store will bring opportunities to the business and new ways to distribute your products and services, It will allow clients from any geographic area, opening and expanding new markets, It will increase the level of competition and quality of the services, You can control the orders and instantly reply to the client’s needs. This last benefit usually is a concern for almost everyone, and it is clear that the dynamic of the relationship between client and business will change in e-commerce, yet this is not a negative aspect for your company. Using the new technologies and their innovation, allows you to have control over the communication and access to more efficient solutions through e-commerce.

Challenges that should be faced

Today the main challenge for the e-commerce business is to keep it active, keep enough cash flow for the business, and analyze ways to recover if it is going through a crisis. The recovery is essential for loyal customers and for the new ones to come. In order to accomplish this, the business should be able to provide additional value with the offered products. Also, having secured and certify payment platforms, that offer warranty and security when the client purchases online. The business should be open to new opportunities if they can overcome the challenges quickly, they should be ready to explore, learn and rebrand to create more value in the experience of the client and their offer.

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