With stores closed and citizens confined to their homes, the lockdown was bound to turn attention to online stores as the only option for those who wanted to do their shopping.
As a result, more and more businesses acquired an eshop during the quarantine period. So they continued and continue to operate, serving their customers online and intact.
According to data from the Association of Business and Industry, digital consumers in Greece in 2019 amounted to 32% compared to 53% in the EU, while the growth rate of e-commerce was only 15%. In April 2020 and in the midst of a pandemic the number of digital users more than doubled, consumer spending via online stores increased up to 170% per week compared to 2019, while e-commerce revenues in March and April increased sixfold. We also had, 45% more traffic to online stores, both directly and via social media, 52% additional order volume, 50% more orders via computers and 53% more orders via mobile phones. In addition, 87% of consumers made their online purchases from domestic businesses, highlighting the need to support businesses in providing the fullest possible consumer e-commerce information.
The 2020 online records
Data from the Hellenic E-Commerce Association (GRECA) showed that online sales in April 2020 set a new record after the quarantine period began in March. Evaluating the change in online spending since the first 9 weeks of the year (pre COVID-19), it can be seen that the e-commerce in Greece has now sixfold in turnover.
The data of the survey conducted by IELKA (Institute of Consumer Goods Retail Research) and the Electronic Commerce Laboratory (ELTRUN) of the Athens University of Economics and Business in the rolling weekly survey (25-27 March and 1-3 April 2020) showed that there was a doubling of Greek online consumers and an 8-10 times increase in online orders in online supermarkets. Compared to last year, the trend of shopping online has doubled in general (from 21% of the population that had made at least one online purchase in the last ten days in 2019) to 44% in the first week of April 2020 and in the online ready meal delivery service from 13% to 25%. An example of confirmation was the recent announcement by Skroutz, which has 4,400 online stores and 10 million products and recorded an increase in online shopping of 41%.
Especially in online supermarket orders, the increase of consumers was eightfold compared to 2019. Distance food purchases also increased sharply, with 10% of people ordering over the phone from a neighbourhood butcher/grocery store and 5% respectively from a nearby/neighbourhood supermarket. As Eltrun analysts pointed out, despite consumers' complaints about the availability and delivery of products, other important factors such as payment methods (68%), attentive delivery staff (49%), proper packaging of products (47%), variety of products (45%), cleanliness and proper storage of fresh products (44%) were rated quite positively.
Launch up to 129% in domain registrations for e-shop
A very interesting element that the pandemic highlighted was the tendency of Greek businesses to acquire an active sales presence in the digital channel. According to data from Papaki which is a domain registrar in Greece, Greek businesses turned to e-shop creation in response to the country's restrictive measures. As highlighted the rise in domain registrations for e-shop perfectly captured the pulse of commerce in our country, but also the changes that will come in the industry. In particular, a general increase in domain name registrations was detected in the March-May quarter, compared to the corresponding quarter of 2019. Particularly significant are the figures for domains that are mainly used in e-commerce, such as .shop (increase +93.6%) and .store (increase +129%). It therefore seems clear that many businesses that until now had only a physical presence or a simple website, sought solutions - in the midst of a pandemic - with the aim of creating an e-shop, in order to continue their operation.