Junior Paid Media Analyst, Tailwind
2020 has been one of the most moving years to live through; It has been filled with tragedy, ranging from the devastating Australian wildfires to the deadly coronavirus pandemic that continues to ravage communities. It has also been filled with unity as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement. Humanity has undoubtedly been put to the test and the effects of these events have impacted not only the way we think but also the way we behave.
From a consumer-perspective, COVID-19 had a direct impact on behaviors, drastically shifting the needs and wants of people. A higher number of people began spending more time at home due to lockdown orders and WFH policies. Additionally, many stores closed their doors as an increased precautionary measure. Going out was not an option unless you were an essential worker or the nominated family member who made the daring trip to the grocery stores and waited in lines longer than those at Six Flags (let’s face it, the Superman line is always too long). Nobody wanted or could go out and due to that, people were shopping more online.
The e-commerce industry has grown immensely since the lockdown orders were implemented. As of this past week, e-commerce sales are 94.78% higher than this time last year. When the lockdowns first started, we saw a steady increase in sales which peaked on April 19, 2020, showing an outstanding +107% more online transactions than in April 2019. The highest peak seen throughout this time was on May 17th, with a 128% increase. To give you some perspective on how rapidly and drastically e-commerce has grown in such a short period, we saw that before when the lockdowns started, the e-commerce industry recorded a 21% increase in online sales on March 8th. These increases are expected as the e-commerce industry continues to grow on a year-to-year basis, but COVID-19 was a direct catalyst for extreme growth. According to Emarketers, e-commerce is expected to grow to $6.5 trillion in 2023, where it is currently sitting at $600 billion. Check out how e-commerce is growing today on CCInsights.org.
Here is the current graph showing how e-commerce has changed over the past few months from ccinsights.org.
As a result of the large increase in e-commerce transactions, certain industries, such as health and fitness, are thriving in today’s market. As a marketer, understanding the trends within a market helps you decide when to adjust or revitalize your digital efforts to reach the right audience at the right time! Stackline has produced a great graphic on the top 100 trending categories and top 100 declining categories in March 2020 compared to March 2019. Check out the graphic HERE to see the trends. To simplify things, below are the top 10 rising and falling industries from the graph.
After identifying the trending e-commerce categories, I have combined those into markets and identified the top 3 for both declining and inclining markets currently.
#1 The fitness industry is having a large boom online. Many people have bought at-home workout equipment and are investing in online fitness apps and routines to follow. As more people can spend time at home, fitness has become a large priority. Especially as this virus has brought many people into a more health-conscious mindset.
#2 As lockdown orders have resulted in many people moving their offices in their houses, working from home tools such as desks, laptops, chairs, communication technology, project management software, and more are on the rise. Many companies and individuals are investing in these items to make their new home offices as seamless as possible.
#3 Groceries are being stockpiled and going to the store is a daunting task. Luckily, there are many online grocers, grocery delivery options, and meal plan companies that many individuals are investing into. These have made it easier for people to social distance and save time grocery shopping.
#1 Travel has dropped immensely over the past few months. We can see fewer tickets, luggage, and cameras being bought due to that. COVID-19 has restricted travel to many countries and left consumers feeling weary of traveling much in general. With many plans canceled and an unknown outlook on the future of travel, many people will not be investing in this market until there is more concrete safety against COVID-19.
#2 Gyms were closed down during the lockdowns across the nation and more people took up at-home workouts. We saw a decrease in the need for gym bags and sports equipment. With more people taking larger investments in at-home workouts, we will see a slow return to gym related items through e-commerce.
#3 Formalwear has taken a big drop. The majority of events, such as proms, weddings, and other special occasions, where people traditionally wear formal garments have, for the most part, been canceled due to people’s' wariness of public spaces. With an unforeseen future of COVID-19, it will be some time until formal wear kicks up again.
As a digital marketer, keeping tabs and understanding the markets you work in and how they are responding at a moment in time is incredibly important. Your brand can easily waste media dollars and efforts when the industry is down or miss the opportunity to generate a stronger ROI when the market is up.
This is the time to reevaluate your current strategies. When your market is rising, the ad space will get more condensed and you need to work diligently to share the right message to the right audience.
#1 Refine where you are advertising and the audiences you are targeting. Find out what social media sites, search engines, and publishers are working for your brand and identify where your media dollars will have the largest impact. Ensure you find audiences that provide your brand with the best results depending on your goals. Do not waste time on audiences that aren't boosting your bottom line.
#2 Make sure your campaign objectives match your goals and that you're evaluating relevant performance metrics. When setting up your campaigns, ensure that the objectives line up. If you want more people to know about your brand then you should be using an awareness objective for your campaigns and focus on metrics like reach and ad recall rate. If you want to learn more about how to choose the right objectives, read Reaching Business Goals Through Social Media Objectives.
#3 Call out what makes your business different. Identify the best qualities of your business and ensure you call them out in your marketing ad copy. Social news feeds and search engine pages are saturated with promotional messages, so it is important to make your ads stand out from the rest with messaging that provides value to your target audience.
Take a deep breath and adjust. Your market is falling but your world isn’t. If this is due to COVID-19 or other impactful events then here are some steps to limit the negative impact on your advertising.
#1 Lower your media spend, many people are not buying into your business offerings currently so it is best to be proactive and save this spend for later in the year when the market begins to strengthen. When events like COVID-19 happen, they hit hard and have a slow-release to normalcy but you will get back to normality.
#2 Focus on awareness campaigns. You can already see that sales are not going to be completed if your market is struggling. But this is the perfect time to take advantage of a less condensed market. Spread the word of your brand and test some new initiatives. Support a cause. For example, many airline companies are helping to fight against COVID-19 while the travel industry has tanked. This not only brings awareness to the brand but also increases a positive brand image.
#3 Start creating a plan once the market is back up to speed. This way, you are already ahead of your competition, and as more people show interest in the industry. You will be the first to reach them and the first they will want to invest more time in.
If you have any other questions or want to learn more about the marketing world feel free to read more of our blogs.
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