Spanish e-commerce grows 55% due to COVID-19

March 30, 2020 by
Nico Hoeijmans

In Spain, online sales have grown 55% since the confinement of the population began due to the COVID019 pandemic. Some Spanish e-commerce markets feel the pain directly, while others flourish.

Spanish e-commerce categories such as fashion and footwear (-69%) and pets (-22%) have seen their turnover fall. However, this has been offset by the growth in sales in categories such as sports (+191%), furniture (+135%), gardening (+130%) and pharmacy tools (26%). This concludes Guillem Sanz, digital business expert, from a sample of 100 e-commerce businesses. Online supermarkets have been excluded in the category 'food', but it is likely a large growth can be noted here.

Empty streets

Closure of all Spanish brick and mortar stores, except supermarkets, grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential services make people turn to the online channel. Particular essentials that help people during their self-isolation boost certain product categories. For example, with schools closed, sales of school supplies (+47%) increased. Even more striking is the rise in sales of sports articles (+191%).

Some categories see their turnover vary from day-to-day. We can explain the current decline a market such as 'pets' (-22%). This is the result of people stocking up on food and pet-accessories when the confinement was announced.

For many categories that saw an initial increase in sales, things are turning to a more regular pattern. This is due to consumers realising there are no stock or supply-issues. "We are experiencing a similar situation to the one that occurred in Italy," Sanz comments to ecommercenews. "As days go by, consumers begin to adapt their shopping behaviour to e-commerce. It is an opportunity for online stores that know how to adapt."

Challenge: delivery

Currently, the biggest challenge the e-commerce market is facing is delivery times. Due to the saturation of logistics centres, an increase of orders and buffed transport networks, delivery service providers face challenges to cope with all deliveries. On top of that, these service providers have to take into account all temporary measures to protect their employees.

From a Spanish e-commerce perspective, many businesses try to lure consumers by investing in online marketing. On top of that, they promote special sales and discounts to promote purchases. Delivery is free and shops extend their return periods. "You have to react quickly in the short term and think about to long term at the same time. Online stores have to provide more facilities than ever before to convince users to buy. Stores that are able to offer the best experience to new customers will be well-positioned to maintain themselves when the inevitable drop in online sales that will occur after the confinement comes," Sanz concludes.

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