How Covid-19 caused job loss and accelerated the rise of e-commerce

Cities are closing, lives get destroyed, companies go out of business and people lose their jobs. Covid-19 has almost taken over the whole planet. The virus isn’t only responsible for the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, companies are also suffering tremendously. Following a survey of 4,725 companies based in Belgium, four out of ten reported a 75% drop in turnover.

In this two-part miniseries, we’re going to clarify three different impacts the corona crisis has caused.

  • Part one: Job losses and the rise of e-commerce
  • Part two: How businesses can survive COVID-19

Lockdown was one of our greatest fears that became reality. Let’s see how this changed our work life and how e-commerce continued to grow.

Working from home

Since the beginning of the protective measures against the coronavirus, a lot of companies had to shut down with the exception of some essential professions. Paired with these measures goes unemployment and bankruptcy. Supply chains are broken and it will take a long time to recover from this crisis. 

According to the United Nations, working hours will be 10,5% less in the second quarter of 2020, comparable to the loss of 305 million full-time jobs. This is largely due to the decision of having longer and stricter lockdowns. 

Fortunately, in many countries, people are returning to their workplaces. To guarantee everyone’s safety, measures have to be followed strictly. Examples of these measures are social distancing (1,5 meter), ventilation of workplaces, digital meetings, usage of masks, and personal hygiene. 

Working from home also had positive sides. Lockdown has obliged us to be creative and to re-invent or improve certain procedures such as digitalising meetings, chat websites, and other communication tools we need. Online video meetings have proven its worth and it’s very likely that we will continue to use it in the long run. These styles of communication will always be less effective than the real physical communication, but the constant improvements surely make up for it.

Make sure you know what others expect from you and treat your home as your own workplace. Invest in some quality computer screens and shower once in a while. 😃

The rise of e-commerce

E-commerce has grown very strongly in recent years. Amazon,, and Coolblue are only a few examples of web giants who were at the forefront of the digital evolution. Online shopping has become a requirement and even the smallest businesses know that. The coronavirus drives all companies in the digital corner so it’s important that everyone utilises this opportunity optimally.  

Covid-19 made people prioritise their needs and for a large part, this can be seen in the purchases we’ve made during the crisis. According to Stackline, a retail intelligence and software company, the top 5 fastest growing categories are disposable gloves, bread machines, cough medicine, soups, and dried grains and rice. The 5 fastest declining categories are luggage and suitcases, briefcases, cameras, men’s swimwear, and bridal clothing. It’s clear that we’re preparing for the end of the world rather than for holidays. 

Source: Statista Research Department. (2020). Sales growth after coronavirus outbreak France in February 24 to March 22, 2020 [Graph]. Sales growth after coronavirus outbreak France in February 24 to March 22, 2020. Retrieved from

This graph shows how online sales increased during the Covid-19 period in France. Especially rural and urban outlets experienced a huge increase in sales. Home delivery was always popular, but also this sector went uphill. 

The fact that the corona crisis is changing our lives and businesses, is no longer a surprise. Many sectors will, therefore, have to remain vigilant in order to survive this lasting change. Digital platforms are the ideal lifesaver to sell products and increase customer loyalty. 

By now, the climax has already been surpassed. People got what they wanted to survive the lockdown so online sales are slightly recovering. Even though this period lasted only for a couple of months, it was a great boost for e-commerce businesses. We don’t know for sure what will happen in the next two, three months, but what is certain is that e-commerce will help us stay afloat for a while. 

The effect on e-commerce industries

Businesses go bankrupt and people get fired. But not everyone suffers as hard as others. While retail healthcare, sports equipment, and fashion are taking a beating, marketplace and online groceries are growing. 

Source: Bellaiche, J-M. (2020). Coronavirus Impact on Online Traffic by Industry [Graph]. Impact of Coronavirus on eCommerce: Consumers Settle Into Quarantine (Update 4). Retrieved from


The canceling of multiple fashion shows was yet another setback for many fans. But also other fashion sectors had to take a beating. Since clothing stores had to close doors, businesses had to improve their e-commerce to cope with this situation. Even though we buy more online these days, statistics show that online traffic went downhill for 5 weeks straight since lockdown. After these 5 weeks, fashion en apparel webshops started to gain traffic.

Source: Contentsquare. (2020). Main KPIs Evolution per Week (Index 100) [Graph]. Fashion Deep Dive. Retrieved from

Retail healthcare

During this pandemic, you would expect people to stock up on medicines, vitamins, and other medical products. It seems like this event already occurred. Retail healthcare websites still receive a good amount of visitors, but significantly fewer transactions. 

Another reason for this drop could be a shortage of products. Almost every sector suffers from supply chain issues resulting in a shortfall in stock.

Sport equipment

Even though people tend to sport more these days, traffic to sports equipment only increased since week 6 of this quarantine period. A reasonable explanation would be that people are more willing to try different sports since they have spare time. Also, as time passes, we are allowed to practice more different sports resulting in people buying new equipment.

Source: Contentsquare. (2020). Main KPIs Evolution per Week (Index 100) [Graph]. Sport Deep Dive. Retrieved from

Marketplace - Tech retail

Our lives are practically online right now. Tech retail increased slightly in the first 4 weeks but exploded ever since. This explosion is due to people settling to work from home and, therefore, purchasing the equipment they need. Also, more schools are trying to shift to e-learning to catch up on learning.

Source: Contentsquare. (2020). Main KPIs Evolution per Week (Index 100) [Graph]. Tech Deep Dive. Retrieved from


Online supermarkets never were this popular, traffic to supermarket websites quadrupled in the first 6 weeks of the corona period. After these 6 weeks, it slightly decreased, but it’s still one of the most visited sectors. 

People are scared to go outside and catch or spread the virus, so online groceries are the perfect way to stay at home and to buy food.

Source: Contentsquare. (2020). Main KPIs Evolution per Week (Index 100) [Graph]. Supermarket Deep Dive. Retrieved from

How businesses can survive COVID-19

As you can see Covid-19 has affected a lot of e-commerce industries. Now it’s up to you to innovate and try to overcome the corona crisis.

In Part 2: How businesses can survive Covid-19, we are going to give some marketing tips and tricks on how to digitalise your company. We will talk about the optimisation of your customer’s relationships and about the benefits of smart-marketing for your visitors.  

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