The Global outbreak of coronavirus has terrorised people across the world. More than a third of the planet’s population is under lockdown. The market and the economy has come to a standstill.
Countless businesses have been forced to shut down in response to the circumstances. The world Economy is experiencing a downfall like never before. April World Economic Outlook projects global growth in 2020 to fall to -3 percent.
In addition, many countries now face a financial crisis and a collapse in commodity prices. The International Monetary Fund has termed this phase as “The Great Lockdown”. This is said to be the worst recession since the Great Depression, and far worse than the Global Financial Crisis.
The pandemic has indeed tested the wholesale, logistics services and the global trade. For many businesses, this phase is the toughest problem.With customers under lockdown, shops shuttered, cashflow drying up and their staff on furlough, the plans for survival are seeming to diminish. With most of the workforce restricted from movement, disruptions in the manufacturing and supply chain have become inevitable.
However, there are certain sectors of the market that are thriving.The government has categorised goods and services into essential and non essential ones. The sales of non-essential goods have been stalled by the Government in wake of the lockdown. But the sales of essential goods have picked up consistently.
The spike in the demand for essential goods has reflected in the field of digitalisation. The reason being, consumers turning to the internet due to social distancing and the fear of the virus. Apart from, Streaming of movies and videos, social media and telecommunication, “online purchasing” has skyrocketed in recent history. Consumers are ordering online goods, especially for essential goods make this turbulent time more manageable.
This has led to Business-to-consumers (B2C) sales and business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce seeing the best of days. A lot of brick-and-mortar retailers of essential goods have transformed into online stores facilitating local selling.
This is enabling customers to conveniently place the order and get the products delivered at the doorstep. It is safer, easier and faster. Big basket is one great example of this
The spike in B2C sales is particularly evident in online sales of medical supplies apart from household essentials and food products.
Availing services online had picked up pace even before the virus surfaced. But back then it was just a matter of luxury but it has now become a necessity for all masses alike. Making money online has never been easier. From graphic designers to motivational speakers, food delivering services to dog sitters, people are selling and buying services online.
The network capacity and spectrum to accommodate the shift to online activities are now being adapted by both operators and governments. Demand has also gloriously increased for internet and mobile data services.
Currently , the Nationwide lockdown instituted by the government has stalled the activities of the non essential goods and services. The government is trying to open the market gradually starting with a few sectors. However it is unlikely for the consumers to rush to physical stores immediately after the lifting of lock down. The fear of the Corona virus would continue to restrict people’s movements. This again would reflect on the popularity of e-commerce.
A survey conducted by Snapdeal recorded a whooping “24 times” increase in added items to the customers’ carts and wish list since the nationwide lockdown began. Such statistics are encouraging several businesses to shift to an online model which is believed to be more flexible that can withstand the changes in the market.
With the current circumstances prevailing, finding global black buyers for a business seems to be a difficult one this would remain true even during the post lock down period as International travel restrictions would still prevail. Virtual selling and trade would be the much-needed shift in model for l exports and imports.
Subsequently, the global nature of COVID-19 and its impact on e-commerce may encourage strengthened international cooperation and the further development of policies for online purchases and supply.
Realising these possibilities, Governments and the private sector are starting to strengthen and alleviate e-commerce . The pandemic has shed light on the glaring requirement to bridge the digital divide to use the digital economy as an aid to the crisis.
The pandemic has established that e-commerce can be a great economic driver for both domestic growth and international trade. E-commerce can also be a solution for small and medium businesses.