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Online traffic during Coronavirus: publishers see increase in traffic, tourism loses

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Mapp, an international provider of insight-based customer engagement, today published figures on the changes in online customer behaviour due to the current Coronavirus pandemic – and this is what it found…

Publisher visits go through the roof

The Coronavirus crisis has had very different effects on certain sectors. The international media’s news portals have been on the receiving end of the population’s increased need for information.

Reporting on the first deaths caused by Coronavirus led to a sharp increase in visitor numbers, with publisher page impressions up 68% and visitors increasing to 84%.

Significant traffic uplift in online trading

By the end of March 2020, online order volumes had increased by 88% compared to the beginning of the year.

Telecommunications and finance recorded rising figures, up 23% and 17% respectively. The increase in the telecommunications sector could be due to the fact that many users are currently dealing with their Internet contracts.

While traffic in the B2B sector is stagnating after a temporary increase, the tourism industry is the clear loser of the crisis. Access to portals from the travel sector has fallen significantly since the beginning of the year – and recently stood at only 34%.

E-commerce: rising demand for tools, toys and cosmetics

The nationwide lockdowns to contain the pandemic has created increased demand for products that can be used at home. Online retailers offering tools and building materials are showing enormous growth. Average order volumes in these product groups rose by a full 212% compared to the beginning of the year. The fact that the demand for tools and building materials is rising suggests that users are spending significantly more time doing DIY due to isolation.

There was also a clear upward trend in toys and cosmetic products – here, orders rose by an average of 90% and 64% respectively. The increase in the toy sector is most likely an effect of closed kindergartens and nursery schools, as parents need to keep their children happy.

There were also moderate increases in the furniture and furnishings (17%) and electronics (9%) sectors. These should be related to an increased demand for home office equipment. The fact that the number of orders for furniture and furnishings is pointing upwards, while the volume of shopping baskets is declining, points to increased purchases of decoration and home accessories.

By contrast, the clothing trade did not yet show any Coronavirus-related effects at the end of March – the average order volume in this sector remained constant. However, the limited time the population spends outdoors has consequences for the sportswear and equipment sector. Orders here have fallen by 45%. Another surprising trend: despite social distancing, demand for sex toys has fallen by 19%.

Shopping in the morning, news consumption in the early evening

E-commerce portals are used more frequently between 6am and 8am, while publishers have the highest influx in the afternoon and evening between 4pm and 7pm.

These differences during the day show that, due to isolation, users deal with shopping in the morning when they would normally access news via their smart phones on their way to work. The focus on publishing in the late afternoon or early evening, on the other hand, underlines the increased importance of media and Internet reporting.

For this evaluation, the specialist for Marketing Analytics and Customer Insights examined the traffic from 1 January to 22 March. The sectors analysed were e-commerce, publishing, finance, travel, telecommunications and B2B, and were analysed according to country, industry and product type. A total of almost 21.5 billion visits were analysed.

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