This is the second in a series of QuickBooks Commerce articles based on first-hand insights from our own aggregate order data.
In this time of unpredictable demand and supply chain disruptions, we are here to keep you informed and up-to-date.
There's a new update on this post, check it out.
After dips in earlier weeks, we are seeing Fashion & accessories order bouncing back, with toys & games still remaining strong.
Even those companies who are experiencing a surge in sales are being challenged if they have been relying on a just-in- time inventory management approach leaving them low on stock. What is clear is that there continue to be some great opportunities for small businesses.
Here at QuickBooks Commerce, we want to provide our customers with as much information as possible. As the more informed you are, the more prepared you will be, and the better your decisions you be.
Throughout this crisis we will continue to share regular updates from our aggregate sales data across some of our key merchant categories, we will also be sharing other useful links and learnings we come across.
The past two weeks have shown a strong increase in orders for our customers, but if we look at broader trends, this data disguises the fact that there are big winners and losers. In the UK, a long standing department store chain, Debenhams, has gone into administration, and Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing is forecasting a drop of over 40% in annual operating profit, yet on the flip side of the coin some more specific apparel products are experiencing strong sales.
Edited, a retail data company, has launched a Covid-19 Retail Dashboard to keep industry professionals up to date with changes in different countries and categories.
Here are some key takeaways from 3 countries:
In the US this past week, product arrivals have dropped by half compared to the same time last year, whilst we are seeing a range of discounts on offer, on average up 18% on last year, but some retailers are beginning to pull these back to preserve margin. Products with the most sellouts are Scarves, Trousers, All Jackets & Hoodies. Those eCommerce retailers who can provide an easy & friction free buying experience are set to gain such as https://www.fast.co/
Australia is seeing the largest variance year-on-year, with new product arrivals down 49% percent. The country has also seen more discounting, with discounts up 32%. Underwear is the most popular item, with Camisoles, Tops & tights sellouts up 120-130%.
Following the UK’s lockdown announced last month, and e-commerce sites such as Next and Net-a-Porter suspending new orders, the landscape is changing. Interestingly more items are discounted but at lower rates. Nightwear is the current top-selling category, with sellouts up over 150%.
For the latest news on how COVID-19 is impacting the Fashion & accessories industry, we found this great source.
After a dip in early March we are seeing orders for this category have a positive trend line, and it is an interesting time for the category where the interest in natural is being overtaken by the desire for safe products, thus requiring brands to rethink, and to educate consumers on synthetic products.
Beauty products considered preventative and safe will see a sharp rise in demand during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, driving clear and lasting change across personal care."
Managing through this change there are a number of lessons to keep in mind including remaining credible, looking at ways to collaborate, and as we have demonstrated by keeping an eye on emerging trends and channels.
If the health and wellness area is of interest to your business, here are some brands who are creating much-needed products and offering support to healthcare workers right now.
As more consumers are stuck at home, they are looking for creative ways to stay fit, and up until this past week we had seen orders for products in this category continue to increase week on week.
For gyms and fitness clubs, the move to virtual classes has been immense, and there has been no better time to be able to make affordable quality content to keep your subscribers engaged, you can learn more here.
Stackline data from the US, comparing March 2020 with March 2019 sales, shows that weight training equipment is up 307% and fitness equipment overall is up 170% year on year.
This same data tells us how food products are faring with dried & canned products, nut & seed butters, baking products and snack food amongst the biggest gainers.
Here at QuickBooks Commerce, we are seeing constant orders for F&B products, and around the world it has been heartening to see grassroots efforts to support local restaurants. This link continues to track consumer spending across various product categories.
Alcoholic beverages are also experiencing disruption, but for those who adapt can benefit from increased sales. Unsurprisingly, off-premise retailers are benefitting the most, but even subscription based beer and wine clubs are experiencing a surge in sales.
Furthermore average order size was up by 20% according to Nielsen, and larger pack sizes were up by 53%.
Orders for toys and games continue to grow, as families are looking for new ways to keep themselves entertained whilst indoors, and shares in the big players such as Hasbro have experienced a strong increase in share value.
This article shows what’s currently selling in the US.
For more news on how COVID-19 is impacting the toy industry, please visit here.
The longer the pandemic continues, the clearer it becomes that when the crisis has passed, new patterns of consumption are likely to continue. We will be posting our next update on Monday 27th April.
Interested to see the previous post? Look no further:
Coronavirus: Interest trends and the odd silver lining
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