Pandemic e-commerce defies boom expectations

13:00 | 27/05/2020 Society

(VEN) - While e-commerce has proven an efficient trading channel to overcome the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, and online shopping has increased significantly, traffic has not been as heavy as expected.

pandemic e commerce defies boom expectations

The iPrice Group and the SimilarWeb Company data on the first quarter of 2020 shows website traffic for three out of four major Vietnamese e-commerce platforms dropped by nearly 10 percent. During the reviewed period, Tiki saw 23.99 million visits per month, a drop of 500,000 visits per month compared to the last quarter of 2019. Website traffic to Lazada Vietnam and Sendo also declined by 7.3 million and 9.6 million hits per month, respectively. Meanwhile, Shopee Vietnam saw an increase and continued to top the list with 43.16 million hits per month in the first quarter of the year.

The drop was attributed to restricted advertising and promotion activities and to rapid and unpredictable shifts in shopping behavior during the pandemic, an iPrice representative said.

According to the report, non-key items accounted for much of the first quarter e-commerce growth, with healthcare products in the lead. Specifically, demand for facial masks and hand sanitizers soared by 610 percent and 680 percent in February compared to the previous month.

Key categories of Vietnamese e-commerce such as fashion and electronics were affected negatively during the pandemic, reflecting consumer concerns over employment and pay. In the first quarter of the year, fashion retail websites saw a 38 percent drop in traffic compared to the previous quarter. Website traffic to electronics sites also declined by 17 percent in February compared to the previous month. However, due to the increasing demands of studying and working online, website traffic to electronics sites increased strongly in March.

The e-commerce sector experienced many changes in the first quarter of the year due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, requiring it to be flexible and adopt rapid adjustments. For example, cosmetics websites that also sold facial masks and hand sanitizers did better in terms of website traffic than those only selling cosmetics.

Vietnam’s e-commerce is forecast to continue to grow strongly from now to 2025. However, to achieve stronger growth, the sector needs to pay special attention to the quality of goods and services.

Tue Minh