Not experienced since decades, the present situation around the world lies in a pitfall of security threat with the COVID-19 scare that has raged since the last December, more menacingly in the last couple of weeks.
What started in China has now spread to over 160 countries, with Europe as the present epicenter of the spread. Declared a pandemic by WHO, COVID-19, commonly known as Coronavirus, has not just affected daily life as the fear grips most and all, it has impacted the World Economy like a bushfire ravaging through forests.
Amongst many core ingredients of economy, the digital ecosystem, which is undoubtedly the heart of the trade and business across the globe, has seen disruptions and impact unpredicted a few months ago.
The disruptive impact has been felt everywhere, throughout the world. The most-talked about topic in the world in present times, COVID-19, has sparked fears about how the economy is going to behave, how much fear it will instil in consumers and how long the outbreak is going to last. Some significant impacts that we have seen includes:
1. Travel and hospitality industry seeing unprecedented and spiked decline
2. Conferences, events, entertainment jigs, sports events all getting postponed or cancelled
3. The market indexes all falling sharply across the world
4. Online events in place of physical meetings and conferences gaining huge traction
5. Remote working has scaled up with more and more people urged to avoid travelling
6. Ecommerce and online sales have seen a spike in sales, albeit sparing few categories
From businesses and brand’s playing field, not just small but major players are struggling too. Like Apple, that depends a lot of China based industries for its products manufacturing and assembly lin. Tesla has also seen a debility in its production.
With afear-gripped economy it is easy to understand why the retailers are predicting a decline in revenue this year. Retailers and businesses dependent on China based industries, or businesses in operations in Europe and North America experiencing the lockdown knows that the business and trade dynamics have changed, the consumer confidence has gone for a toss (which is also a result of the fact that because of drop in economic growth the unemployment rate will also shoot up).
Talking about the digital marketing industry as a standalone, taking into account the data and stats from global perspective, the organic traffic is falling down in most of the industries.
A no-brainer here – the travel and hospitality and entertainment industry. Countries and regions are in a lockdown. Restaurants, pubs, clubs are closed. Transportation is being avoided by people. Famous sites are closed down or are deserted. So, you can definitely expect these businesses’ digital identities getting a no-show. Apart from these, luxury goods and products industries are also seeing decline in traffic and conversions, as people are in pandemic state and are scamperting for the essentials only, and not luxuries.
However, online streaming services and businesses pertaining to online education, teleconferencing, video conferencing and so are seeing improvements.
Other major industries that have benefitted are news websites, financial space industries, and daily grocery, medical supplies. For items like hand sanitizers, disinfectants, water bottles, food products, baby products like wipes and diapers, and such industries have seen a spike in their traffic as well as sales.
While financial space has seen growth in traffic, the conversions are down, simply because are just checking the state but staying away from any investment in such times of uncertain market structure.
For the digital marketing industry, there is a different scene altogether for the workers. They are now experiencing and adjusting to a somewhat new remote working condition, with uncertainty of up to when it will continue. The marketers having client base in the industries that are not impacted negatively by the Coronavirus are safe as of now, but others, especially one primarily in the travel sector have been experiencing some of the bad times in the profession.
While physical retail stores are going through a lockdown period, people are unwilling to step out to buy in person, online retailers are gaining traction. But here again, the results are kind of mixed – because the sales depend on what type of product sale you are into.
Selling healthcare and cleaning essentials like wipes and sanitizers? Then you probably wouldn’t have hit such huge sales volumes before.
Selling luxury goods like TV, etc. as such? Then you would probably be waiting finger-crossed to get this pandemic situation pass as quickly as possible.
Another consequence that has reared in the e-commerce industry is panic buying. For grocery shoppers, the dilemma is finding it hard to find hand sanitizers, hand wash, toilet roll and such cleaning essentials, as people have stocked up on these necessities. While many retailers have gouged the prices of such items, there are people who have bought these in bulk in the early days of the outbreak and are now selling it at high amount on sites like EBay. However, the administrators and regulators have upheld strict guidelines for such malicious practices of selling at high rates on the part of retailers and so. The home commodities too are being stocked up in bulk by people, which is because they fear that markets and manufacturing could shut down completely in the near future leading to a lack of products.
In the current scenario where uncertainty lies supreme, and there is no possible assumption about how this situation will behave in the coming period – whether it will ease or gets worsen, adjusting the strategies and outlooks is the best digital marketers, retailers and businesses should focus on. They should brace for a decline in the trade, but make sure to evolve to ensure they are being able to sustain and work towards a convenient environment for all, trades as well as consumers.
And most importantly – it is time to take the COVID-19 situation seriously, follow the imposed curbs duly, and take preventive measures and take care of one’s and other’s health as well implementing all the necessary steps – so we are able to come out of this jeopardizing situation as soon as possible.
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