In the third of our fortnighly updates on the impact of COVID-19, we take a look at a few of the standout sectors and businesses, up to 26th April

What does a hoodie and a hand sanitizer have in common?

If you could peek randomly into someone’s online shopping cart today - while practicing social distance, of course, - what would you find?

Other than toilet rolls and instant noodles, if you said: hand sanitizers, pet food, and homewear, you’d be right on the money.

Just like the businesses that are selling these products online.

So what are they doing right? And what we can learn from them?

Looking at the data that we have, as well as other interesting snippets that we have found online, here’s our take on things.


In a word, adaptability.

The cornerstone of nearly every single startup, being flexible and agile is key to any successful business. The winners will be those who adapt best to changing situations and the opportunities that they present.

This has never been truer than now.

It’s getting better for some in medical and pharma

Results in the past week, have been just the tonic for the medical and pharmaceutical industry. This was potentially due to a new wave of product availability, including hand sanitizers and medical face masks, as well lockdown measures being continued globally.

A few weeks back, Nielsen identified six key consumer behavior threshold levels directly linked to consumer concerns and lockdown measures surrounding COVID-19. They provide early signals of spending patterns, including for health supplies, across multiple markets.

With a second purchasing wave emerging for medical supplies, products like rubbing alcohol, disinfectants, and antiseptics all set for increased sales. And while many markets remain in the ‘restricted living’ phase, there will be new cycles of growth.



How the fashion and accessory industry is ad-dress-ing things

With lockdowns extended, we’re seeing an increase in orders for the fashion and accessories sector.

However, some brands and retailers have faced a backlash for not supporting garment industry workers enough. In the past few weeks, more than $3+ billion worth of orders have been cancelled or postponed in Bangladesh alone.

With no orders, the workers there won’t get paid.

On the other side of the COVID-19 coin, Bangladesh factories should be in lockdown. However, this also means no pay for the workers. So many garment factories are defying lockdown, exposing their vulnerable workforce to the contagion.

So what to do?

Enter “COVID-19: Action in the Global Garment Industry

Some European fashion brands and stores, including Marks & Spencer and H&M have outlined measures to support their suppliers, They have also joined the ‘Covid-19: Action in the Global Garment Industry’ initiative. Its aim is to:

  • protect garment workers’ income, health and employment
  • support employers to survive
  • establish a more sustainable way of social protection for a more just, resilient garment

Over in the UK, BooHoo reported pre-tax profits of £92.2m, up 54% on the previous 12 months. It then saw its share price rise by 5.5%. The reason? As a BooHoo spokesperson told the BBC:

People aren’t really buying going-out items, but they are buying hoodies, joggers, tracksuit bottoms. Sales of tops have gone up in particular, with everyone wanting to look smart on Zoom calls.

For more news on COVID-19’s impact on the fashion & accessories industry, checkout Just-Style's timeline and Fashion United.

Who’s having a pawsitive impact with animal and pet supplies?

Initially, specialist pet stores benefited as they were more focused on pet food and had more products in stock. Pretty soon, they were ramping up home delivery and collection services.

However, when stocks and shelves began to empty, consumers began to look elsewhere at other brands. As they wanted the convenience of being able to actually place an order for home delivery or outside pickup.

In short, market share is there for the taking. To be ahead of the curve, here’s a quick to-do list:

  • Focus on your inventory
  • Consider extending YOUR promotion
  • Prepare for a second wave of stocking up.

But don’t just take our word for it.

Looking at the Q1 performance from Nestle, the largest growth contributors? Purina PetCare and its premium brands, Purina Pro Plan and Purina ONE. And we’re pretty sure that they won’t be resting on their laurels.

Putting a brave face on things in the health and wellness sector

In the past week, orders for health and wellness products and services took a big hit. However, with the cyclical nature of many categories, this was no real surprise.

Over the past few years, the beauty and personal care sector has outstripped (no pun intended) most consumer categories. However, like many other industries, the impact of COVID-19 is bound to take its toll.

This was something that a recent US survey by L.E.K. Consulting (in partnership with Civis Analytics) found. It also saw that the impact of COVID-19 varied depending on product type and usage, ranging from moisturizer to toothbrushes and perfume.



On social media, #selfcare has been trending recently. This is because products offering a sense of “self-care” at home, such as facial masks, lotions, essential oils. and aromatherapy, are more likely to resonate with consumers during this time.

If at first you don’t succeed: trial kit, trial kit, trial kit

With social distancing and isolation measures in place, consumers have more time to try something new. Through trial kits, for instance, brands can encourage consumers to try out a new product—driving sales in the short term, building loyalty in the longer term.

Similarly, consumers are more likely to improve their skincare regimens as they have more time on their hands. Plus, there is now a greater emphasis on the importance and benefits of maintaining healthy skin.

What’s more, there should be an uptick for products that typically supplement or replace out-of-home services, such as hair coloring and nail care. This is because many businesses such as hair salons and beauty parlors are in lockdown.

 You can also try these things

However, one thing’s for sure: brands must continue to focus on customers’ needs and cravings. At the same, it’s also important for businesses to:

  • Strengthen digital capabilities - In addition to eCommerce selling, reach out to consumers through fresh content. For example, with a how-to-guides.
  • Enhance supply chains – Do you have the right stock, at the right levels, in the right place, at the right time, cost and price? QuickBooks Commerce Inventory Management - and calculate your working inventory needs today,
  • Focus on possible growth areas -  The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) have launched a weekly series of Q&A interviews with industry leaders. Global Wellness Institute to what some forward-thinkers are thinking and doing to tackle COVID-19.

Creativity is paying off for arts and crafts

Similarly, in the world of arts and craft, although orders in the past week are down we are seeing fortnightly spikes in orders.

While the chart below may resemble a basic knitting pattern (knit one, purl one), it does show that when a business responds proactively - with pace, scalability, and a touch of creativity – they can go beyond striving and thrive.

One way to help drive sales is through content.

During these lockdown periods, keeping the younger ones entertained (and other family members sane) is essential. That’s where an activity how-to-guide can be very useful

For one, it can earn you a loyal following. One that will come back to your business for fresh ideas and refer you to others, time and time again.

And finally….

With COVID-19, it’s not all doom and gloom. Here’s a recent story on the benefits of being thoughtful and responsive.

In Australia, an 8-year-old boy named Corona sent a get-well message to the actor, Tom Hanks, who was recuperating from the virus with his wife while filming in Australia.

“I heard on the news you and your wife had caught the coronavirus. Are you OK?” wrote Corona, who was named after the sun’s outermost layer.

Corona went on to say. “I love my name but at school people call me the coronavirus. I get very sad and angry when people call me this.”

This week, Tom Hanks’ replied.

“Dear Friend Corona. Your letter made my wife and I feel so wonderful! Thank you for being such a good friend ― friends make friends feel good when they are down.”

Hanks added that the 8-year-old boy was “the only person I’ve ever known to have the name Corona - like the ring around the sun, a crown.”

Along with the letter, Hanks enclosed a gift: A vintage Corona typewriter.

“I thought this typewriter would suit you... Ask a grown-up how it works. And use it to write me back.” 

To make things easier for Corona, Hanks even included some self-addressed stamped envelopes.

And at the bottom of his letter, Hanks borrowed the title of the theme song from Toy Story 4: “You got a friend in me!”

Nice, huh?

Hang on in there, we’ll get through this. And if you need a hand with something, let us know You’ve always got a friend in us.

Interested to see the previous post? Look no further: 
Coronavirus: Interest trends and the odd silver lining
COVID-19: Our lowdown on the latest ups and downs


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