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COVID-19 and buying local

Our world has been changing fast over the last few weeks. And its getting smaller and smaller with all the quarantine and confining measures being put in place to slow the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is forcing us to change our habits very fast.... this might actually be an interesting pause for the planet, but one thing for sure is that e-commerce is booming.

Here are a few examples from around the world:

  • One article suggests that e-commerce could double in the UK (from 20 to 40% of all retail sales) during this period. (souce: ParcelHero).

  • Empty shopping malls across Asia, especially in countries such as Singapore, South Korea, and China where the spread of the virus has been even more pronounced. E-commerce has benefited from this episode of the virus outbreak as people are now turning to online shopping. (source: e27)

  • In India, major e-commerce players have witnessed about 20-30% spike in orders as customers are avoiding visiting crowded places like malls and supermarkets. (source: Business Standard)

  • Amazon has struggled to keep up with a surge in demand for groceries and household goods... will hire 100,000 logistics staffers in USA due to COVID-19 related demand (source: The Burn-In)

And Divante gives us a nice overview of the impacts and reactions in different market segments:

So, there is rapid change happening at the moment in the e-commerce world. Previous growth forecasts are already outdated... How does that affect local economy and local businesses?

E-commerce has been built around national and global supply chains with little involvement or benefit to local retailers, proximity or specialized stores. This new pandemic is just exacerbating this problem. As people accelerate their transition towards e-commerce, they will be buying more from the online supplier and less from the local neighborhood store.

We need to enable local stores with their own web presence and online stores and attach them to local delivery services. Getting a delivery in a few hours from a local store has to be more attractive than a next day or 2 day delivery shipped from half way around the planet.

One thing COVID-19 is teaching us is that we have to build the resilience of our local economies for situations like this. Lets get to work...

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