The coronavirus pandemic has shown how quickly the boundaries between real and digital life can become blurred. The social distancing rules introduced in many places during and after the lockdown have led to society having to reorganise itself. Since then communication has increasingly taken to video, education has been provided through e-learning and the daily trip to the supermarket has been replaced with online shopping. Even when a vaccine is found, it is highly likely that many of the new patterns of behaviour now part and parcel of everyday life will remain. SARS-CoV-2 has thus not only led to an acceleration in digitalisation, but also formed new mega-trends and made the lifestyle of "generation internet" socially acceptable across all age groups.
One of the significant winners from the many upheavals imposed by this year has been e-commerce. While bricks-and-mortar businesses have had to absorb significant losses over the last few months, online shopping is booming. According to a recent survey of online traders by ZHAW, both small and large online shops have profited from the crisis. Among those benefiting are not only the B2C but also the B2B sector. "Many online shops experienced a surge in sales of up to 1500 per cent and were swamped with orders," explains study author Darius Zumstein. The analysis reports that the great majority of Swiss internet traders likewise assume that the coronavirus crisis is delivering them long-term growth. The changes in consumer habits are also set to have a positive impact on sales in e-commerce across the world. The experts at Shopify predict global e-commerce sales in the current year of USBtn 4.2 and a rise in the market share of retail by 2 percentage points to 14.1 per cent – with an upward trajectory (see graph).
The rise in purchases on the internet is also giving wings to other sectors, such as suppliers and payment processors. The latter is additionally profiting from the trend towards contactless payment at the point of sale. While the size of the market for mobile payments came to USDtn 1.1 last year, Mordor Intelligence reckons that it will reach an estimated volume of USDtn 4.7 by 2025. This corresponds to an average compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.9 per cent between 2020 and 2025. Among the leading payment providers is Adyen, which has already been active in this sector for over 15 years. In the first semester the Dutch company posted a transaction volume of EURbn 129.1, up 23 per cent on the previous year.
Online food deliveries were already on a strong upward trend before coronavirus struck. Whereas industry giant Delivery Hero recorded some 80 million orders in the first quarter of 2018, by the fourth quarter of 2019 this figure had already risen to 216 million, with demand accelerating rapidly again in the course of the pandemic. Orders for home-delivered pizzas, burgers or vegan dishes actually doubled in the second quarter compared with the same period the previous year. The frequency of clicks on the food button made itself felt on the sales side, too: Delivery Hero posted an average annual increase of 70 per cent in revenue between 2014 and 2019. According to analysis from Statista, the entire industry will continue growing at a lively pace in the next few years. While some USDbn 107 was turned over in the global food delivery segment in 2019, this figure is set to rise to USDbn 184 by 2024.
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