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Coronavirus: Impact on Digital Marketing and the Economy

Coronavirus is one of the most talked-about subjects of the moment. The virus that has existed for many decades (since the mid-1960s) has mutated and is now moving around the world.

With that in mind, we will share with you how the world scene is doing and the impacts of this on different spheres of the market.

Washing hands and rubbing alcohol helps, but it’s not enough

One of the ways to prevent the outbreak of the disease is to prioritize the cleaning of environments and maintain personal hygiene. It is necessary to wash your hands frequently, rubbing alcohol, and avoid touching your face.

However, as much as these measures are essential, as the number of patients has been growing in the most diverse cities, isolation is the best way to reduce cases and expose fewer people to risk.

Social isolation and the impact on the market

This kind of sudden behavior would certainly cause changes in the market, after all, people have changed the way they consume products and services daily.

According to The Guardian, food delivery and digital subscription services are showing an increase in sales, while department stores, fashion chains, and restaurants are being negatively affected.

Traditional retail is already experiencing an impact in terms of changing purchasing behavior. Now, with storms in many parts of the world and the outbreak of the coronavirus, more than a quarter of buyers have said they are avoiding places moved by fear (research by Barclaycard). This new behavior further encourages online shopping.

The socio-economic scenario has affected the reality of companies in all sectors, which now need to be aware of the market.

Coronavirus and online consumer behavior

The growth of Covid-19 continues and more and more countries are establishing quarantine or other health measures.

The internet has, therefore, become one of the most effective ways to keep in touch with friends and family. In addition, as many companies are adopting the work-at-home method, being connected is also crucial for teams to perform their duties and continue to collaborate with the economy.

On March 13, when the President of the United States announced a state of emergency for the country, shortly afterward traffic rose to 20%, compared to usual.

In the following graph, presented by the Cloudflare study, the red line indicates the 13th, Friday, and the gray lines indicate the previous days, for comparison.

This chart shows that some events lead us to an even greater connection and that, in addition to being more attentive to our leaders on the internet, we also want to follow the repercussions.

However, it doesn’t stop there. According to another analysis by Cloudflare, now in Italy, we can follow the increase in online traffic with the quarantine decree.

Analyzing Italy is essential in order to have a vision of what can happen in other countries with growing cases of Coronavirus.

What people are searching for reflects how they feel

According to Think With Google, the volume of searches for the keyword “bored” jumped between 22 and 29 March worldwide. We can see that even in April the number is high. With people more time at home, it is natural that they feel bored and want to do other activities.

In this article, we have already mentioned the growth in the acquisition of streaming services and even other sectors of the market. However, in addition, there are other open opportunities for companies to contribute to people during this period.

Think about how your business can be functional during quarantine and be strategic, that doesn’t just mean that your company will be able to continue operating in the midst of a crisis scenario, but that it will truly be able to help people in some way.

Reflections you need to make about the current moment

This type of digital behavior does not just mean that people are more connected. It means that their routine has also changed and that the way they will interact with brands and make their purchases of products and services has also changed.

Have you ever wondered what your company would do if cases increase in the USA, in a scenario very close to that of Italy? Not only in relation to the pace and internal logistics of work but what would you do to not have a negative impact on your sales?

Think about the scenario that the contagion of Coronavirus in the USA may not even reach a peak as in Europe, but the natural movement for digital valorization continues. In addition, if there is any other event that influences people to buy more online, what will your business strategies be to stand firm in the face of a possible crisis?

Covid-19 and the economy

To make your vision even clearer and broader, you need to understand the global economic context. Thus, you will understand why your company needs to position itself in the right way as soon as possible.

Right from the start, the new Coronavirus made it clear how the global industry depends on the Chinese. Many companies had their production damaged after the crisis that China began to face due to the virus.

Entrepreneurs from countries such as Germany, South Korea, Japan, Italy, France and even the United States, noted the difficulty that they would pass from that moment on to acquire pieces and other items produced by the Chinese.

A good example is that of Renault, which had to suspend activities at one of its factories in South Korea. Apple also experienced a considerable cut in its production.

At the end of February, the United States and Europe Stock Exchanges lost 12% of their income, which has not happened since the economic crisis of 2008-2009.

Another point of impact for the Stock Exchange was the considerable drop in oil, which generated a decrease of 8% and trillions of dollars less in capitalization.

Economists have predicted that only this year, 2020, the Coronavirus can cause a loss of $ 1 trillion to the world economy. What to do?

Coronavirus impacts on e-commerce

Both traditional and online retail have suffered from the impacts of the coronavirus.

According to data from the National Statistics Agency, industrial production plunged 13.5% in January and February, compared to the same period last year.

Data on e-commerce also show a setback. The blog of Compre & Confie, a company that monitors the purchases of more than 80% of the digital retail in the US, reported that in February alone the drop was 7.7%, decreasing 5.2% in revenue, compared to the previous month.

This is because people are more at home and their needs are focused on health and well-being during this period.

This market movement has already impacted the economy and, even though your business does not suffer directly from it, think about how your company can support consumers with new solutions.

Types of business that showed the most significant drop

ContentSquare data pointed out the segments/products most affected in relation to the number of orders in February:

  • small appliances (cameras, camcorders, and drones) – down 42.3%
  • stationery – drop of 30.5%
  • games – 30% drop
  • electronic products – a decrease of 19.4%
  • supplements and vitamins – down 14.7%
  • toys – down 13.1%.
  • fashion and accessories (one of the strongest segments in internet sales volume) – down 10.9%.

Buying essential items online

The “panic purchases” that have zeroed supermarket shelves are also taking place online. Consumers also use the digital medium to stock up on items they consider essential.

Online supermarket traffic increased by 7.1% in the first weeks of the epidemic and 10.3% in the last few weeks. Still based on the ContentSquare study, transactions increased by 15.7% in the first period and increased by 10.9% after the increase.

Going beyond traffic, supermarket sales increased by 16% and the industry’s average conversion rate increased by 8.1%.

Health is also a hot topic. Visits to health sites (e-commerce for natural foods, vitamins, hygiene, etc.) increased 11% and sales soared 27%.

With people staying at home for longer, it should come as no surprise that increased traffic for household items also occurs. The volume of visits to pages of this type of products increased by 33%.

Updated March data:

Data from the Adobe Digital Economy Index shows a 25% increase in e-commerce sales. The analysis also points out that sales of online supermarkets doubled in March.

Updated April data:

According to an analysis by BazaarVoice, in April 2020, there was an 85% increase in purchasing activity. People need to continue to purchase their essential items and services and, even if this decreases in person, e-commerce has gained space, as well as online marketplaces.

The e-commerce curve is bigger than the beginning of 2020. At the beginning of the pandemic, consumption was reduced even in virtual stores (20%). However, an Abcomm study with Konduto revealed that the growth of the last few months reached 47% of the accumulated increase. That is, people are more likely to make purchases online. This may have happened because they started to adapt to internet shopping.

Challenges that can become an opportunity for change

The pandemic is causing damage to the physical and mental health of many, it is impacting the economy, and, with all this, it has moved us to seek solutions.

What we need most at the moment is to stop looking only at the now and focus on preventive measures that allow us more security to start changing our present and future.

The actions needed to make people safer, whether shopping in physical stores or online, need to be taken regardless of a crisis like this. So, if you have a business, be it digital or not, you need to start acting in relation not only to Coronavirus, but to any other eventuality or even to simply offer a good experience to users.

The media as a channel for credible information

The production of information is in full swing in the most diverse channels. The news doesn’t stop and, according to a survey by the QualiBest Institute, most people believe that the media is transmitting information about the coronavirus exactly as it is happening.

In other words, the media has been seen as reliable by most people, who are increasingly connected to search for updates.

Coronavirus questions persist

The same study by the QualiBest Institute pointed out that people still have many doubts about the virus – about contagion, symptoms, treatment and more.

This situation is acceptable since we are living in a time of uncertainty and changes are happening very fast.

Covid-19 fear can generate new habits

The research pointed out among the biggest fears, the two main ones:

  • contagion, with 73%;
  • the health system is not able to serve everyone, with 64%.

Finally, there is the fear of Brazil going through an economic crisis, with 35%.

In the midst of this scenario of doubts that generate fear, a good question is: can fear and all uncertainties change consumer habits?

Yes. A good example is that 94% of people have changed their hygiene habits, which concerns not only the way they clean themselves but the products they buy. That is a behavioral change that directly implies consumption.

We want you to analyze this information broadly. Do not restrict yourself to hygiene, but think about people’s priorities.

The main purchases in the quarantine

Gel alcohol has become the most sought after hygiene product by people at the moment. As well as increased concern for health, in general. This reveals the current priorities and also a possible change from the future.

People need to be more focused on what they should buy, so they are looking at what they really need to buy. According to the QualiBest Institute, 59% of people are taking care of spending and 30% said they will buy more online.

How people are busy in the quarantine

In this period when people are much longer at home, the search for entertainment has increased. Some services are highlighted:

  • video streaming increased by 42%;
  • games increased by 20%;
  • music streaming increased by 18%.

In addition, 38% of people have also connected more with their loved ones through the phone, social networks, video conferences, among other options.

Despite everything we are experiencing, we can still go through this moment with digital connections. In other words, even if we are far away because it is necessary, we can talk to other people, have entertainment, study, work, among other actions so as not to be “hands tied”.

Updated April data:

According to Morning Consult, 38% of adults who signed up for a streaming service since the beginning of 2020 said they had subscribed due to the coronavirus.

People are looking for useful services for the moment. Even if your services or products are not so hot during quarantine, do the exercise of thinking about how you can create something new, even if they are digital content, that can be useful for your target audience.

The search for digital channels has increased

It is not because we are separated that we cannot be together. That is why many people are increasingly connected on their social networks. Even those who were not on a specific channel are more likely to create a new profile, whether to connect with friends, family, follow celebrities or even spend time with another type of digital entertainment.

We can follow the evolution of the search for digital channels (Gmail and other social networks) in the middle of the first quarter of 2020 and the sharp increase in the last few days, which are the days when people are adhering even more to quarantine.

We are not over the period that covers Christmas and New Year, an interval in which people also connect and adhere to digital media to check and propagate messages. However, with the evolution shown in the graph, perhaps in a few weeks or days, we will reach an even greater number of searches for these digital media.

Updated data for May:

People are very connected on their digital channels and social networks. Therefore, the number of active users on Facebook networks (Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram) has grown to 2.99 billion people a month, counting the first quarter.

This 11% growth (compared to the same period last year) demonstrates the importance of your brand positioning itself online and engaging with the public that is most engaged in the digital medium.

Purchases made to stay at home

In this time of crisis, people are making more purchases to stay at home. In addition to food, other items are also being ordered. That’s because when you think about “getting equipped” to stay at home for a long period, you need other products and services to make your stay as comfortable as possible. After all, contact with other people is difficult, tours are suspended and entertainment (as well as other segments) needed to be redesigned for a more secluded period.

According to a ContentSquare study, some transactions were positively impacted – such as supermarkets, technology, finance and cosmetics. Other segments were negatively impacted – such as tourism, face-to-face entertainment (events), fashion and other luxury items and services.

What to do to avoid and circumvent the negative impact of Coronavirus?

However, this is the context of large companies, but what about medium and small companies? Something must be done so that business does not stop.

If this is the case, you must now ask yourself what to do in the midst of this scenario. In addition to valuing your health and that of your company’s employees, you need to have a vision of the future.

We know that we will get through this. But when the crisis is over, how will your business be? Looking ahead is also being careful. That is why it is important to adhere to digital strategies. Today they can already help in two ways:

  • preventing its results from falling considerably by a sudden pause;
  • strengthening their structures for the post-quarantine and even post-crisis period.

As much as your product or service cannot be sold now in the same way as before, think about what you can do – counting on digital marketing – to keep your company up.

As for the other businesses that continue to operate normally (or almost normally), think of all that you would lose in the medium and long term if you pause your strategies completely now just out of fear. Remember that your audience will continue to need your products and services, so continuing also means providing support. Of course, you will need to take all necessary steps so that everything is done with caution and responsibility.

The current scenario for your company requires that, as a good manager, your eyes are not restricted to “putting out fires”, but be ahead to know what to do today, with the resources you have, to help your consumers now and not let them down in the future.

Business priority in times of crisis

We are going through a delicate moment marked by uncertainties. You need to stop and establish which priorities are really at the top. Right now, the priority is the health of everyone – yours, that of your employees, friends and family, but also the health of your business.

A Kantar Thermometer survey on consumer behavior during the coronavirus pandemic revealed that 67% of Brazilians expect companies to prioritize their employees.

This positioning demonstrates how the audience is interested in seeing responsible actions by the brands.

Taking care of the teams does not mean that you need to be stopped, but that you must adapt to the current context.

Many companies are more active in the digital environment, implementing actions to serve the public now during the pandemic or even after everything is over.

This is the time to continue focusing on strategies to not lose sales and achieve even better results. The crisis will pass and if you don’t plan, the negative impact may come later.

When all this is over, people will search for products and services on the internet again and companies that are positioned with digital marketing actions will absorb all this demand.

Updated April data:

According to Kantar’s research, Barometer Covid-19, consumers expect that brands do not stop investing in advertising, however, their idea is that they continue consciously to the current context.

Even though for 80% of respondents, companies should not use the coronavirus situation in any way to promote their brands, for 88% of people, brands should use communication to inform how they are coping. For 86%, companies must communicate how the actions they have taken can be useful in people’s daily lives.

The key point for brands, therefore, is knowing how to position themselves. It is important that all communications are made with empathy to the target audience. Businesses need to continue functioning and offering their products and services, but always paying close attention to the context and whether they are being faithful to their values ​​and responsibility with the current moment.

Opportunity to contribute to the target audience

Some companies are very attentive to opportunities to offer benefits to the public during the period when people are most at home.

Magazine Luiza offered free shipping for items that help prevent Coronavirus, Google released premium resources for Hangouts Meet, FGV (Faculdade Getúlio Vargas) granted free access to a list of online courses, among other actions of some more companies.

There are those who see it as “opportunism”, however, many companies are, in fact, cooperating with people and helping in this moment of crisis may indeed bring an organic result for brands, since people tend to connect even more with companies that had good experiences.

Think about what you can do for your target audience and empathize with people.

Facebook helps map coronavirus cases in the United States

In the United States, Facebook is running on the social network a survey by health experts at Carnegie Mellon University to identify whether people who are isolated have symptoms of Covid-19.

The good news is that on April 20, the results started to appear and, with the help of this data, they will be able to map in which regions there are more chances of the virus to spread and that there will be a considerable increase in cases.

Amazon announced that it will invest the 2nd quarter of 2020 profit in favor of fighting the coronavirus

Another action of a large company that will impact health was that of Amazon, which decided to donate US $ 4 billion for investments in protective equipment for the thousands of company workers, cleaning even more intensified and improved in the company’s facilities, increasing wages, in addition to the development of coronavirus tests.

How to sell more in the crisis?

Some articles from renowned portals, such as Estadão and Infomoney, indicate some actions so that companies can strengthen themselves even in the midst of the crisis to try not to let the number of sales plummet.

One of the crucial factors for not harming yourself and even selling more is to adapt. You cannot pretend that everything continues as before, nor think that everything will return to normal in a way completely the same as we lived before. Therefore, seeking an adaptation to the current context is the best way out.

Anyone looking for a solution on how to sell more in the crisis needs to know the pain of the target audience to seek possible new solutions. Even if it involves adapting your products and services or even creating new ones according to demand and possibilities, of course.

The exercise for companies is to try to seek more speed to adapt and not lose sales opportunities. You need to empathize with customers and a lot of creativity to try to understand what they need and how to serve them in this situation, even with limited resources.

Online advertising and Google Ads during quarantine

The updated survey by Advertisers Perceptions points out that, although many companies believe it is time to cut back on media efforts, 65% of advertisers agree that, with the pandemic, investments in digital advertising can result in direct sales results.

This means that investing in ads can be very effective. However, remember to exercise empathy and use common sense when creating your company’s advertising.

Also according to the study, the paid search advertising medium is the channel through which most advertisers are increasing budgets.

Think strategically: if the media results are more likely to convert into sales, the best thing is for the tactics to be funnel-bottom, that is, targeted at the “best prepared” audience to buy. In this case, those who use Google and other search engines to find products or services, are more likely to purchase something than those who still need to be “educated” to make the purchase.

How will it be when everything goes back to “normal”?

You can ask yourself two questions at this point to understand how to plan the next steps for your company:

  • how long will we go through this difficult economic period?
  • will we have a normal life again?

How long will we go through this difficult economic period?

JP Morgan uses the SIR model in his studies to compute and try to predict the advance in the number of infected people. It appears that we will reach a peak in the second week of April, so perhaps the quarantine period will extend, which also means that economic activity will remain low, as most people will remain in their homes.

If it happens as expected, we could also see an improvement in June, when the case curve decreases. However, everything is still just studies and estimates. We are going through a time of great uncertainty, we do not have a definite cure, not even a vaccine.

Will we have a normal life again?

Yes, we will. But we cannot say what this normal will be like. The truth is that consumer behavior has not only adapted to the current moment, but is undergoing transformations that, even after the crisis, can impact the economy.

People are being placed in a context of digital transformation that is faster than they expected. In the post-coronavirus period, everything indicates that new habits will be part of everyday life, which implies that the “normal” will return, but it will no longer be the same.

The big question is whether your company will be prepared for this new reality.

Free online courses to take during quarantine

With more free time for those at home, distance education has gained a lot of strength. If you are in this post it is because you have some affinity with digital marketing and, therefore, we have listed some courses for you to take during quarantine, check out:

SEO courses

Inbound Marketing courses

  • RD University – basic courses for analysts and managers (Introduction to Inbound Marketing, Fundamentals of Inbound Marketing for Managers and Fundamentals of Inside Sales for Sellers)

Content Marketing Courses

Now you can make the most of your free time at home to gain new knowledge. Even if you are doing a home office, you can still enjoy the time when you don’t have to spend commuting to dedicate yourself and learn new skills or strengthen the ones you already have.

If you are an entrepreneur or manager, you can also encourage your employees and your team to develop further during this period, what do you think?

What can your company do right now regarding the Coronavirus?

Some measures are important at this point:

  • stay connected and informed of reliable sources about cases and ways of prevention;
  • ensure a safe workspace, which can also involve the opportunity to make a home office;
  • establish safety guidelines between employees and customers, how to avoid face-to-face meetings and other contacts;
  • prepare a customer service plan and try to promote more digital actions during this isolation incentive period;
  • follow up on the next reports and follow the guidelines established by WHO.

Update your business on Google My Business

Anyone who has an active Google My Business account can make some updates to let the public know about what has changed in their operation after the coronavirus.

It is possible to inform customers if you have made changes to your daily operations. In fact, one of the suggested changes is to indicate if your opening hours have changed, there is a specific field to make this change.

Remember that you can also make publications in the tool to keep your customers and the general public well informed, with the possibility of adding a button with the call to action required at this time.

We hope that you, your company professionals and your customers are safe with Coronavirus. To stay informed about health measures, follow the WHO newsletters and take precautions.

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