It is hard to believe that just a few months ago we were living our regular, normal lives. Then, almost instantly, a virus outbreak changed the world forever.

Businesses were closed in an instant, busy city centres became deserted and families no longer went out each day to go to school or work. 

We are only just starting to see the impact on the economy around the world but with car manufacturers Toyota estimating an 80% drop in profits this year and many other industries similarly affected, there is no doubt that the economy has been decimated by the virus.

In the digital marketing space, Coronavirus has driven huge changes. Whilst for many brands that benefit from online shoppers having time on their hands, business is okay and in some cases, even better than before. However, many companies are proceeding with caution, and this is reflected in the digital advertising spend and other statistics. 

Marketers expect ad spend decrease of 69% in 2020

Add this to the fact that many businesses have been forced to close, events have been cancelled and some products are no longer available, ad spend for many sectors is falling. Research indicates that 69% of brands expect they will decrease ad spend in 2020, showing the kind of impact Coronavirus is having on marketing.

Where marketers are having to work on smaller budgets, they have been looking to different channels that are more budget friendly. Social media and video marketing are both expected to see increased use, as marketers turn to these channels to generate leads at a lower cost compared to paid ads.

It is interesting to take a look at some of the businesses that are winners in the midst of this pandemic. The fastest growing e-commerce categories include:

  1. Disposable gloves
  2. Bread machines
  3. Cough/cold medicine
  4. Soups
  5. Rice

Personal exercise equipment has also seen a rise in sales and in some countries, it became incredibly difficult to buy toilet roll and flour, due to panic buying and a surge in baking to fill the time.

At the other end of the spectrum, the e-commerce categories that have seen the most significant decline are:

  1. Luggage and suitcases
  2. Briefcases
  3. Cameras
  4. Swimwear
  5. Bridal clothing

Which is not really surprising given that foreign holidays are currently a far away dream, loungewear is the new (working from home) office wear and weddings have had to be cancelled. 

Marketers have to show some flexibility if they are to navigate through these difficult times and one important aspect to keep an eye on is how consumer behaviour is changing. It is expected that even long after this pandemic, consumers will increasingly be buying more products online than before Coronavirus (Covid-19). There has been a shift in how we live and what we see as essential items, which has a huge bearing on retail.

For retail stores that rely on customers visiting the store, this emphasises again that flexibility is going to be required going forward. It is unlikely that the world will ever go back to the way it was before, so businesses must be ready for post-Covid life.