SMALL BUSINESS GROWTH   |   12 minute read

Regional health check; how is small business faring across countries?

In our last blog on small business order trends, we looked at year on year commerce trends across a range of key industries. Today we take a deep dive into trends in key markets across three key regions; the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, comparing 2019 sales volumes to 2020. 

Dissecting order trends by region as well as industry helps commerce founders understand how their products are likely to fare in the region they sell in given past trajectory, as well as which markets are ripe for the picking, should they be looking to expand their operations. 

The industries we will be covering in this week's blog are Pet Products, Arts and Crafts, Beer, Wine and Spirits, Fashion, Clothing and Accessories, Fitness, Sports and Outdoor Equipment, Food and Beverage, Health, Wellness and Cosmetics and Toys and Games. We will also be looking at some small businesses that have done particularly well or have been innovative in their markets.

Across these industries, all 3 markets have seen an impressive increase in orders year to date when comparing 2020 to  2019. The United States saw orders increase by 59%, the United Kingdom was up 56% and Australia saw an impressive increase in orders of 63%.

United States

Fashion and Accessories

The winning categories for the US include Animals & Pets, Beer, Wine & Spirits, Fashion and accessories, Fitness, Sports and Outdoor Equipment, Food & Beverage and Health & Wellness.

These categories displayed sustained year on year growth on orders as compared to 2019. One interesting point to note is that order volumes for businesses in selling Animals & Pets, Fashion, Clothing & Accessories and Fitness & Sports goods all saw a sharp rise in 2020 sales towards the middle of the year. This coincides with both the arrival of summer and the lifting of social distancing measures in the US, leading to an increase in outdoor and social activities.regionalcheck-animals-us

The laggards on orders came from the Arts & Crafts and Toys & Games industries. Both categories performed poorly as compared to the previous year with Toys & Games enjoying a brief spike in April of 2020. One possible explanation could be the rising trend of children preferring virtual hobbies over physical ones. 

One US based small business that is cashing in on the increased demand for fashion, fitness and beauty products is subscription box solution FabFitFun. FabFitFun helps its members discover new products for a “well lived life” for a fixed monthly fee. Instead of having to do your own research when purchasing new beauty or fitness products, the company delivers a personalized box of products to you based on your lifestyle and preferences and also factors in up and coming brands. FabFitFun offers convenience and affordability on high demand products, an equation that is hard to beat.

United Kingdom

Fashion and Accessories

Let’s start with the laggards in the United Kingdom. Similar to the US, Arts & Crafts and Toys and Games saw consistently less orders as compared to the previous year, which could be a sign that this downward turn could be a global trend. This means that businesses in this space need to innovate and find new ways to engage prospective customers. 

The winning categories in the UK were also the same as the US with noticeable stronger year on year growth for products in the Beer, Wine & Spirits, Fashion & Accessories, Fitness, Sports and Outdoors categories doing significantly well from April onwards. One category that we want to call out amongst the winners in the UK, is the Food & Beverage industry. regionalcheck-foodandbeverages-uk

The F&B industry saw a significant level of sustained growth from April onwards and at much higher levels than the US. With the global economy worsening and many on-premise food and beverage outlets closing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we could hypothesize that this increase in the sale of F&B products is indicative of recessionary consumer behaviour in the UK; more people are choosing to stay in and cook as opposed to head out for a meal. 

Gousto is an excellent example of a brand that has found an innovative way to bring the quality and experience of on-premise dining to the homes of this emerging pool of budding chefs at home. Gusto posts forty new recipes each week online, catering to families as well as busy professionals and subscribers can select a recipe and expect a delivery of all the ingredients they need to whip up their meal, delivered to them, any day of the week. The ingredients are also measured to portions you specify- so that you reduce food waste and to top it off everything is locally and sustainably sourced. Great ingredients, from good sources at good prices; what’s not to love?


Fashion and Accessories

Ding ding ding, we have a winner! It's good news for Arts & Crafts and Toys & Games in Australia. Both categories saw year of year growth as compared to 2019, a far different story from their counterparts in the US and UK. Other categories that performed well include Fashion and Accessories, Food and Beverage, Pet Products and Health, Wellness and Cosmetics, all showing trends similar to other key markets with an uptick in sales from April onwards in 2020.

regionalcheck-art-auSurprisingly, it is not a good year to be in Beer, Wine & Spirits or Fitness, Sports and Outdoor goods if you live down under. For fitness companies, 2020 started off on a slightly stronger note than the year before, but saw a decline in April and seems to be trending downward. For BWS, the year on year growth has been consistently slower. 

For merchants in the UK and US who are wondering how their toy and games selling counterparts in Australia did it, take a look at Tiger Tribe, a local toy company that positions its products as an alternative to screen time. Tiger Tribe creates beautiful, compact and portable activity sets, gifts and toys for kids, from babies through to 12. Their toys are thoughtfully designed in-house with Portable Play in mind, meaning they are easy to pack and convenient to carry- making them as convenient to use as tablets and other mobile game devices. 

Overall, it has been a strong year for the Pet Products and Fashion, Clothing and Accessories. For businesses operating out of this space, expanding into any of these three markets could well be profitable. For many gamemakers and craft equipment sellers, the time to innovate is now. And for the most part, we can safely say that food & Beverage owners who find creative ways to deliver gastro experiences to the home, will be a hit, in the months to come.

Interested to see our previous posts? Look no further: 
How Covid-19 redesigned the warehouse layout
Small Business Order Trends- A year-on-year growth comparision
Coronavirus: Our guide to small business relief
Coronavirus: Interest trends and the odd silver lining
COVID-19: Our lowdown on the latest ups and downs
COVID-19: With May almost upon us, how are things looking?


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