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In our previous article Coronavirus and its impact on E-commerce in Europe – Part 2, we discussed how different types of products have gained popularity in Europe due to the coronavirus.

Here in Part 3, we will focus on how the coronavirus crisis has caused customers to change their online shopping habits across Europe – in Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Austria – and how new marketplaces are booming in these countries.

New online marketplaces are being discovered across Europe

Spain

In Part 1 of our series Coronavirus and its impact on E-commerce in Europe it was discussed that the rate of online shopping differs depending on the country, and that Spain has one of the lowest internet penetration rates in comparison to neighbouring countries.

However, there is mounting evidence that under the coronavirus crisis, countries that usually purchase goods offline are turning to online marketplaces as a solution. For example, in a report published by international News Source Financial Times, Spanish department store El Corte Inglés has seen a huge increase in demand. According to the marketplace, there has been many more Spaniards turning to the platform to buy essential items such as fridges and large freezers. A Financial Times spokesperson has commented on this shift in consumer behaviour under coronavirus, saying “Customers who previously were perhaps uncomfortable with ordering online before can now see the advantages of doing so.”

Further proof that COVID-19 has caused Spain to discover online shopping platforms can be found in a report carried out by market consultants Nielsen and Kantar. According to their latest observations, orders to online supermarkets have “grown exponentially, with households trying this system for the first time.”

France

Whilst countries such as Spain are only just discovering E-commerce under the coronavirus crisis, other countries who regularly shop online are beginning to discover marketplaces that have lay hidden for years. Although the pandemic is causing many to struggle, it has also benefited online retailers by helping start-ups and other undiscovered platforms to gain recognition.

Over the last month, French marketplace Ollca (a platform for fishmongers, butchers and grocers to sell goods) has seen a massive increase in its customers and its turnover. In fact, since the start-up’s launch in 2017, it has never seen this much activity. Ollca reported a 623% increase in customer visits to the platform between February and March, and in the same period recorded a 1665% rise in turnover. The marketplace also now receives 25 new sign-ups from traders every day in comparison with the 5 registrations per week it saw before the pandemic.

Italy

Similarly to Spain, Italy also has one of Europe’s lowest internet penetration rates at 4-5%. Here, the coronavirus crisis has also caused those who don’t usually shop online to explore E-commerce. Through this, multinational retail chain Carrefour has been discovered by Italians.

The Financial Times has reported that in the weeks between 9 March (when lockdown began) and 24th March, the number of Carrefour’s online customers doubled to 110,000, and there have also been 10 times more Carrefour deliveries made via courier service Glovo.

Germany

In Germany, it is time for marketplaces such as Lidl, Otto and Amazon.de to move over and make way for Lozuka. Before Germany went into lockdown in response to the pandemic, Lozuka was only available in Western German city Siegen – however, with its business now booming, it is available in more regions of the country.

The platform, on which local retailers can sell a wide range of products – from groceries to gardening – has seen its traders generate a record €300,000 within the last three months. However, despite the number of Lozuka’s customers increasing due to the coronavirus, the company has said that they were beginning to gain attention before the virus hit. A spokesperson for Lozuka has said “The steadily growing number of participating companies and customers in the Siegen area shows the strong regional perception of the platform as a community.”

Austria

Austria’s E-commerce platform Shöpping.at, first launched in 2017 by Austrian Post, has seen its number of visitors quadruple since measures were put in place to tackle the coronavirus crisis.The platform’s sales also quadrupled in March. Currently 2 million products are being sold on the platform by 600 active sellers, and since lockdown measures were put in place 300 new sellers registered on the platform. Managing director Robert Hadzetovic has said “In these difficult times, we see that consumers are increasingly buying from Austrian retailers.”

We hope that this article in our series on Coronavirus and its impact on E-commerce in Europe has been a useful resource on information regarding coronavirus and the discovery of new marketplaces across Europe.

For more news on how coronavirus is affecting the world, please subscribe to receive updates on our Blog posts and visit our News Hub. If your business is struggling to cope because of COVID-19, please do not hesitate to call us or send us an e-mail – we serve hundreds of E-commerce businesses across Europe, and we offer services in accounting, bookkeeping and tax compliance.

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