The lowest common denominator of world markets today is uncertainty. Those who deal with forecasting are not helpful either. Opinions mix. Many believe the recovery will be slow and problematic; others, however, believe in revenge shopping, which basically is the crazy and desperate purchasing of goods as a fast healing method after a period of forced confinement.
The questions extend to everything else. Post Covid-19 our lives will be more online than ever, but many want to go back buying in small and local shops, from clothing to food to books. We want to be able to hug each other soon, but the truth is that we are now so comfortable in our home that we don’t look forward to it anymore as we used to. Not just now that we’ve started to feel comfortable.
If it is true that we are all sailing in an ocean of uncertainty, it is also true that late May is the time to start dealing with consequences. This is the case of Zalando which, after a period of crisis last March, declared an increase of more than 10% in income in the first quarter only. The German e-tailer seems to be extremely positive, forecasting a bigger growth for the rest of 2020. The data is indisputable and not surprising, after all.
The increase in e-commerce sales in this last couple of months is due, more than anything else, to the inpossibility to do otherwise. Online sales were already strong before January 2020 and, with the current situation, they are not only strong but also the only possible alternative. This certainly explains the + 39% of customers that Zalando reached in April. As if to say that those who were still reluctant to shop online, for the most disparate reasons, had to adapt.
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Along with personal reasons, such as boredom, sadness and often loneliness – but also to the all-human need to prepare for a better future awaiting us – online sales sites have worked to push sales through discounts, promotions and so on. Now we just have to wait to see what’s next. And if we still hope to find ourselves tomorrow as better consumers, transformed by the experience once for all, now the specter of a totally contrary reaction begins to arise. Perhaps, not only nothing will change, but the purchases will be even more engulfed, in an attempt to heal wounds that require something completely different instead.