While Covid-19 – the virus coming from Wuhan is spreading like wildfire across the globe. As a fatal threat to people’s lives, this pandemic also leads to a downfall of the manufacturing supply chain as well as the travel sector. 

When the outside world takes a hit, people resort to going online for every necessity. Just like how the 2003 SARS epidemic triggered the mass adoption of online shopping, E-commerce is seeing a spike in volume as people limit going to the public as much as possible. And what the consumers are buying at the moment starts to reflect the isolated life during the coronavirus outbreak.

Personal protective equipment

What E-commerce consumers are buying amid the coronavirus pandemic 1

In order to protect yourself from the coronavirus, the WHO advises that you should wash your hands frequently, maintain social distancing and practice respiratory hygiene to prevent the virus from entering your body through any means. Thus, the demand for face masks, gloves, disinfectants, and hand sanitizers skyrocketed since the Chinese New Year – the very beginning of the pandemic. These products often are sold out or marked at a very high price due to the immense demand from the public. Even though the government and E-commerce platforms committed to fighting price gouging, they also have to face the problem of faulty or fake products.


What E-commerce consumers are buying amid the coronavirus pandemic 2

Even though online shopping for fresh food has been around for a long time, consumers are still used to buying directly in a market or a shop. However, this outbreak makes the former option much more secure and convenient. JD.com reported that their sales for fresh food over 10 days are 15,000 tons – a 215% increase compared to last year, especially fresh vegetables with a whopping 450%.

Healthcare & personal care

Since there hasn’t been any absolute cure for the coronavirus, the immune system is your best shot at beating the disease. Thus, health supplements like immune-boosting vitamin C or black elderberry extracts are in high demand. Having more time at home also allows people to better themselves more through exercise or beauty care – the reason behind the ongoing growth of cosmetics and sports equipment, particularly yoga mats.

What E-commerce consumers are buying amid the coronavirus pandemic 3

Some needs are hard to meet during the social shutdown, like getting a haircut or fixing a broken machine. People have to be more self-reliant, which results in a rise in sales for hardware tools or hair shavers and hair trimmers.

Kitchen appliances

Not going to the restaurants give people two options: order out or cook by yourself. While food delivery can’t ensure 100% safety, people start to fill up their kitchen by appliances like rice cookers, blenders, and electric grills. Some even pick up baking as a new hobby.

Remote studying & working 

This disease forces school and work to move online, which leads to soaring usage of telecommunication applications: Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, etc. Thanks to technological advancements, we are able to hold all lessons and meetings online. 


What E-commerce consumers are buying amid the coronavirus pandemic 4

Demand for games and movies are soaring as people are stuck at home with too much free time. Sales for games console for smartphone joysticks have been rising, as well as national TV ratings and online streaming subscriptions.

Other notable trends

Because of the pandemic, delivery services have innovated in order to keep packages free of contamination and minimize human-to-human contact. Robots and drones are rolled out for delivery, or goods are simply left at the designated pick-up points for customers to collect.

Purchases for celebrations such as Valentines’ Day or Women’s Day also become much more practical compared to the past, statistics show. Online shopping carts are now filled with family necessities instead of clothing and beauty products. 

–> You might be interested in: 8 E-commerce trends that will continue its success in 2020

Boxme is the premier cross-border e-Commerce fulfillment network in Southeast Asia, enabling world-wide merchants to sell online into this region without needing to establish a local presence. We deliver our services by aggregating and operating a one-stop value chain of logistic professions including: International shipping, customs clearance, warehousing, connection to local marketplaces, pick and pack, last-mile delivery, local payment collection and oversea remittance.

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