A new round of the survey conducted by Konduto and the Brazilian Association of Electronic Commerce (Abcomm), and which LABS has been closely monitoring, brings encouraging numbers for Brazilian e-commerce. From the beginning of the quarantine period, in early March, till the end of April, the sector has gained 4 million new customers.
“The result is that today the Brazilian e-commerce curve is already much higher than at the beginning of 2020. After the 20% drop in sales at the beginning of the quarantine, the Brazilian customer is buying again, and the sector has an accumulated growth of 47% in orders throughout the month of April,” says Maurício Salvador, president of ABComm. The average ticket also grew (by 18%), from BRL 417.82 in the first days of March to BRL 492.43.
In an interview with LABS, Salvador said that the initial drop in sales caused by the new coronavirus crisis, happened, mainly, for two reasons: the special offers of the Consumer Week in Brazil just a week before the quarantine; in the natural scare of the consumers in the country when it comes to the new disease and its impacts.
“And then what happened next was that the consumer had no purchase alternatives because the physical stores closed. E-commerce started to be the only option for a great part of them. What we were really surprised, though, was that at first there would be categories that would be obvious to grow, like supermarkets, pharmacies, but we saw that there were categories like toys, fashion, computers, which also had significant growth as well as,” Salvador explained.
In the initial quarantine period, three sectors stood out positively. With more children at home, the toy sector had an increase of 434.70% in orders–entertainment for them and peace of mind for parents. As everyone needs to eat, supermarkets registered an increase of 270.16%.
The performance in the sporting goods segment draws attention at the beginning of the quarantine: up 211.95%. Four other sectors are also among those who stood out in the preference of Brazilian consumers: electronics (66.10% growth in sales), drinks (54.27%), furniture (47.59%) and fashion (41.40%).
On the other hand, four sectors saw their sales declined when compared the last phase of the survey (April 9th to April April 25th) with the previous one (March 29th to April 8th): pharmacy (10.38%), eyewear (10.20), cosmetics (3,53%) and bookstores (1.91%). As in the full survey period, when comparing these last two periods, the segments that showed the highest growth were electronics (66.10%), drinks (54.27%), furniture (47.59%) and fashion (41, 40%).
From physical store to home office and WhatsApp
Within weeks, large, medium and small retailers, as well as other sectors, had to migrate their operations to the home office (which was possible, at least). One of the ways out was to put physical store sellers to work on the application and on the companies’ website, also selling through WhatsApp, one of the most popular applications in Brazil.
Salvador says that although the threat of the pandemic has been developing since January, this whole movement of migration from off-line to online operations has been quite disordered, both in large and small companies in the sector. “The companies were not prepared for confinement, much less for this sudden increase in online sales. The luck is that Brazilian e-commerce has seasonal periods, with high demand, such as Black Friday and Christmas, so the logistics managed to adapt to this sudden growth. But in general, companies spent the first weeks more adapting to the new model of distance work than (responding) to the increase in e-commerce itself, “observes Salvador.
He also points out that, for now, companies are not yet betting on aggressive sales, but are concerned with keeping the relationship with customers alive. “Sales by WhatsApp have increased a lot in the last few weeks. So it has been an interesting alternative, but many of the companies, even the big ones, are still doing it in a completely uncoordinated way. They put it to work the way it did. And the sellers of the physical stores they were not trained at all, prepared to serve a customer through digital “, reports the president of Abcomm.
The entity has provided training in this regard, both for businessmen and for its employees. “The question that the learning curve will now have to be very high”.