In this surreal experience of self-isolation across the globe, people are rediscovering long-hidden talents, introducing themselves to crafts, books, music, and movies, and, apparently, they’re also shopping online, and spending considerably more than exactly a year prior.

The COVID-19 Commerce Insight tracker’s new data shows pure play e-commerce revenue up 37% in the past seven days, compared to the same time last year, and orders are up 54%. Pure e-commerce and online sales from brick-and-mortar retailers see big jumps in US activities.

The numbers on the tracker change daily and are reflective of the dramatic rise of those staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Both the map and chart illustrate the year-over-year trend across key geographies and categories, meaning both illustrate online activity in the last seven days compared with the previous year.

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Tech companies Emarsys, a customer-engagement platform, and GoodData, a software company, created an updated-daily map and chart that chronicle the consistent rise, since January, in both revenue and online retail activity. The information provides real-time insight into consumer spending across the globe and is designed to flag signals in consumer behavior to help them pivot to thrive.

Image: Emarsys/GoodData

Artificial intelligence and automation are both becoming more and more important when it comes to e-commerce,” said Alex Timlin, senior vice president, verticals, Emarsys. “Brands online need to understand who their customers are to sell more effectively to those customers. But as more and more customers shift online through COVID-19, the harder it becomes for brands to make sense of the bucket load of data that consumers will be giving them.

“Artificial intelligence and automation is helping brands to do all the hard work by segmenting consumers into new customers, existing customers, defected returning customers, assessing lifetime value of customers, and more. Using this information, brands can then set up targeted and personalised digital campaigns for each type of customer.”

“During lockdown situations, the best way to reach customers for most retailers apart from
supermarkets is online,” Timlin said. “What we’re seeing is that retailers who have both a physical store and an e-commerce site are using the latter to offset the losses from the closure of the former. And while that may not enable them to break even, it’s certainly helping the bottom line look less worrying.”

Timlin added, “However, the longer people aren’t at work the bigger the impact on customers’ wallets and the more the situation gets challenging from a consumer confidence perspective. The longer people can’t go to work or visit stores, restaurants, and go about their daily business, the bigger impact we’ll see on discretionary spending outside of groceries and consumables–meaning fashion retail particularly will be under pressure in the coming weeks.”

The site includes an interactive map and chart, and both feature dropdown menus to indicate sectors including, pure e-commerce, retailers, fashion and accessories, home and leisure, and sports and hobbies. It also shows economic indicators, including revenue and orders.

Image: Emarsys/GoodData

Data is gathered from more than 1 billion engagements and 400 million consumer transactions across 120 countries, 2,500 global businesses, and “provides a global and regional picture of pure e-commerce and online retail performance and trends, a key indicator of economic conditions during the outbreak.

Revenue value is calculated by using the global population of online sales and includes desktop, mobile, tablet, and in-app purchases.

That measures the number of consumers who completed an online transaction, checked out, and advanced to the order confirmation page.

The number of orders and transactions is calculated using the total number of transactions, independent of the items in that transaction (not number of products sold, but number of orders completed and payments processed).

“Consumers are still spending in many areas, but the news on TV and online right now is so alarming that most business owners would be forgiven for thinking that consumer confidence has collapsed altogether and that they need to take drastic decisions to protect their business,” Timlin said. “Before taking those decisions, I would implore those business owners to arm themselves with the right contextual information about consumer spending and behavior. Then you can make the right decisions to mitigate the damage of COVID-19, and navigate the uncertain times ahead a little more easily.”

“I absolutely expect ecommerce players to hold on to customers more during the pandemic,” Timlin said. “The rise in people working from home and interacting with each other over video will show there’s a huge rise in digital communications channels for a wide range of demographics. People are having virtual family dinners, and older demographics are getting set up with family WhatsApp groups and video-calling accounts.

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto