coronavirus and ecommerce

How Coronavirus Could Impact Global eCommerce?


At first glance global events can seem to have a positive impact on global eCommerce. Just like when a hurricane threatens mainland USA the local state affected will enter panic buy mode and stock up on their provisions.

Then if people are quarantined or on ‘lock down’ many will turn to some retail therapy in order to make themselves feel better. It is well known in the eCommerce industry that when people are forced to stay inside, online sales go up.

A quick look at the movers and shakers list highlights this current threat with Coronavirus.

mazon movers and shakers health masks

As you can see 3 out of the top 4 products are the same style of surgical face mask to prevent the spread of germs with the top product seeing an increase of 87,400% from position 875 to number 1.

If you are in the business of selling medical and health products then business could be good right now.

The China Problem

It is no secret that China is the worlds manufacturing plant. So many of the products that are bought and sold online are manufactured in mainland China. The problem now being that over 33 million people are now under quarantine. That’s just under the entire population of California.

Major cities including Guangzhou where a huge amount of production and manufacturing takes place are now on high alert, with the Coronavirus quarantine zone expected to increase over the coming days.

This means there is a probability that some manufacturing plants will shut down. Production will stop or at least slow down significantly. Causing a back log of products hitting the market and delays in shipments and purchase orders.

Whilst this might not affect the giants like Amazon too much directly, it definitely has the potential to disrupt the third party sellers which make up the majority of their sales. This could have a much bigger impact for the SME’s globally who rely on the Chinese manufacturing industry.

What Can You Do?

If you are reading this and have realised that this global incident of Cornoavirus could affect you and your business, then I have a few things that you can do to try and minimise any potential risk to your businesses cash flow.

  1. Communication – Keep up to date with your agent in China regarding the current situation over there. Keep up to date with news sources too as there is always the possibility that local sources may try to down play the current situation to not cause panic. With your business hat on, your business and livelihood has to come first.
  2. Forecast – Whilst the good news is that the major sales period has now passed, that doesn’t mean that your supply chain could not be affected. Take a look at your last years sales and when your normal re-order schedule would be. Look into the potential of ordering a higher quantity of product to see you through a potential shortage if the worst was to happen.
  3. Control – Be aware of what you can and can’t control. Whilst you can’t control the current outbreak in China, you can control how you react to it. Look at what the worst possible situation would be for your business and prepare accordingly. Make plans and be prepared to communicate with your customers and manage expectations accordingly.

Have you been affected already by the Coronavirus outbreak? Let us know in the comments section down below or over in our Facebook Group.

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