Coronavirus’ Impact on Marketing, eCommerce & Advertising

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Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, people have wondered about its effects on overall marketing, eCommerce, and advertising of both smaller and bigger companies. The stats have been made, and many analysts tried predicting what was about to happen. These are the results they have come to gather.

Retail & FMCG

March this year has been the busiest month for the UK supermarkets. It has seen an incredible rise of about 20.6% in overall sales. This new rise in sales for the UK supermarkets was a definite new record for the sector. This is large because consumers are stocking up for a longer time period at home instead of eating out at restaurants.  In the four weeks during March, the public spent roughly around £10.8 billion on groceries. That’s even more than what usually gets spent during Christmas on average. Also, across the whole of Q1 2020, the grocery market has had the sharpest growth rate in more than a decade. The rate has reached 7.6%.

The first week of March was especially busy with grocery shopping. On average, 88% of households made about five shopping trips to their local supermarkets between Monday and Thursday. In total, that’s about 42 million additional supermarket outings across a concise time period.

The data from Kantar has revealed that every household has spent an additional £62 on groceries this past month. All those people turn to smaller convenience stores because they are advised to stay close to home when they need to leave the house. That is one of the main reasons why smaller independent corner shops have experienced a 30% rise in sales in the previous four weeks. That in total has enlarged their overall share of the grocery market by 13% and even more.

It is also predicted that, as further restrictions are about to be imposed and applied in the upcoming weeks and months, larger supermarkets will begin to decline. However, the smaller ones will have more success since people will continue taking shorter and more frequent trips to their local convenience stores.

UK retail industry forecast to lose £12.6bn in 2020

On the other hand, there has been a new prediction made by Global Data regarding UK retail sales. It has been published on 24th March, and it suggests that UK retail sales are about to plunge during 2020 due to the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic dramatically. According to this forecast, the UK retail industry will most likely have a loss of around £12.6bn this year. It is estimated that clothing and footwear brands will most likely suffer the most. They will see a decline in sales of 20.6% to £11.1bn. However, the UK food and grocery markets will grow by about 7.1% in 2020. In other words, that is about £6.8bn up on the previous forecasted annual spend.


ITV expects at least a 10% drop in ad revenue in April

British broadcaster ITV said that a drop of 10% in ad revenue should be expected in the upcoming month for advertising and eCommerce. Since the beginning of March, when some brands, especially in the travel industry, decided to pull their advertising for some time, ad revenue for the company has significantly slowed down. And the drop that happened in March had bigger consequences than expected by expert analysts. That has led them to forecast a 10% fall during April.

Originally planning, ITV hoped that ad revenue would grow by at least 2% in Q1 2020. Some analysts even expected growth of up to 3%. However, the continuous spread of the virus in the UK has definitely ruined these predictions.

There are still some events that can afford to be held through live event streaming. However, most of the events, such as big championships and tournaments, sadly had to be postponed. And that is most likely going to hit ITV ad revenues even further. For many of these reasons, ITV’s current situation will be mirrored by smaller ad-reliant broadcasters in the upcoming months.

The imagery of human interaction declines by 27.4% in social ads

There has also been a new study published on 24th March by Pattern89. It has noted a significant shift in the ads that most imagery brands use through social media platforms during the pandemic. In this study, over 1,000 brands and advertisers active on Facebook and Instagram have been carefully analyzed. They found out that around 27.4% fewer images and video ads of models display human contact and interaction ever since the virus started spreading.

On the other hand, since 12th March, there has been a significant rise in the appearance of imagery ads featuring people washing their hands and faces and images and videos of water splashing and cleaning. As a matter of fact, these have risen at six times the normal rate.

In the meantime, headlines and body copy mentioning Sports & Fitness topics have risen from 5.7% to 21% of all ads since 12th March. Also, electronic devices such as smartphones and TVs started appearing in 39% of all social ads.


In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has had both positive and negative impacts on marketing, eCommerce, and advertising. Some sectors have been lucky enough to gain more advantages, while others, unfortunately, have only seen drops in their sales ever since the pandemic started.

Coronavirus’ Impact on Marketing, eCommerce & Advertising

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