COVID-19 Has Given the E-Commerce Vertical More Power than Ever

What started as a forced shift in consumer behavior in direct response to the worldwide stay-in-place orders that spanned the globe, could now very well be the new reality. Online shopping has experienced a boom so large, it will likely never retreat to pre-quarantine levels.

For this reason, there’s no time like the present to shine a spotlight on e-commerce in performance marketing. As shopping behaviors are redefined, there’s a growing need for both affiliate partners and marketers to fill in this vertical.

The Staggering Statistics

Inevitably, with a vertical as broad and all-encompassing as e-commerce, certain sectors have felt the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic more than others. Yet as a whole, e-commerce statistics are proving that online shopping is becoming the heavily adopted new norm. According to an Adobe study1 on COVID-19 and the digital economy, as of March 2020 overall e-commerce in the US was up by 25%, and in the UK it was up 33%, when compared to the same time period last year.

During the panic buying phase, certain e-commerce categories saw unprecedented growth, with the virus-protection segment (hand sanitizers, gloves, masks, and anti-bacterial sprays) surging by 807%! And while many theorized that as initial panic buying came to an end, e-commerce purchase rates would settle back down to normal – that’s not yet the case, and very well may never be.

In affiliate marketing, we’re seeing from first-hand experience just how explosive this e-commerce growth has been. Overall, our network and agency have seen a 197% increase in ad spend for the e-commerce vertical between March and April 2020. Be it tactical supplies for increased outdoor excursions or doomsday prep (up 148% MoM), or subscription boxes that remove the risk of in-person shopping (up 37% MoM), consumers are shifting what buying power they have right now to online sources. 

Society was already moving to a more digital lifestyle before COVID-19, with e-commerce steadily taking up a larger share of overall retail sales every year. While many consumers increased their use of e-commerce out of necessity, the reality is these stay-at-home orders have acted more like a catalyst for the inevitable, rather than creating a one-time anomaly in e-commerce spending.

The Performance Marketing Opportunity

For the majority of affiliate e-commerce sectors, we’ve seen more days of month over month growth than decline, proving that as other marketing options prove too risky, performance marketing has acted as a marketing sanctuary for brands. Its ability to not only promote action, but safeguard marketer’s advertising ROI by only requiring payment for actual sales is why affiliate marketing e-commerce opportunities continue to see increased ad spend in a pandemic.

As demand surges in many e-commerce categories, marketers can lean on affiliates to help engage consumers through their target audience expertise and drive these consumers to place online orders.
If you’re an online retailer looking to start or reinvigorate your affiliate e-commerce program, or an affiliate partner with traffic looking to buy, our team is ready to help. Apply to be one of our marketers or affilaite partners to take advantage of today’s peak demand.



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