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What does Covid-19 mean for Fashion E-commerce?

The current Covid-19 pandemic is a crisis that has affected the economy worldwide. Companies are shutting down, people are staying home and stores around the world are closing. Specifically, the retail industry is impacted. Retailers have been forced to close their stores and even shut them down completely, with permanent consequences. However, it seems that shippings are still happening and many online retailers remain to provide their services. But are people still willing to purchase online? Or, are people even purchasing more online than before? 


Current Situation

There is no doubt that online retailers have been affected by the current situation. Upon research, data can be found from multiple sources that fashion e-commerce has seen losses in their percentage revenue looking at changes throughout the past weeks and when comparing stores’ revenues during the same time period last year. 


Looking at the Fashion, Apparel and Accessory industry there was a 30% decrease in revenue visible over the month of March 2020, whereas this decrease was only 3% during the same time period last year. 

  • Looking at changes in sales, between March 1st and March 20th of 2020, the U.S., the U.K. as well as Sweden saw a decrease in sales by between -25% to -41%, where in Germany there seemed to be a 3% increase. Germany was also the only country that saw a positive change in conversion rate by 28%.

  • Overall, across the U.S., the U.K., Sweden and Germany there was an overall decrease in site visits by between -9% and -30%. A decrease in Average Order Value is also visible across these countries.


Research on U.S. e-commerce fortune 100 countries, between February 18th and April 3rd also saw several trends visible which are likely to be explained by the current crisis. Overall, conversion rate increased by 37.17% during this time period. In comparison revenue has seen a decrease with a low of -63.61%, however, is now slowly beginning to rise again now being at -18.72%.

  • Advertising spend on fashion e-commerce has seen rather different trends. Most fluctuation was seen on Facebook spend with an initial drop up to -28.35%, then an increase by 24.31%, however, now is seeing another decrease of -1.4%. Google spend however, has seen a continuous drop, now being at -66.5%.
  • Luxury items saw similar trends. Conversion rate increased by approximately 80%, whereas revenue saw an initial decrease but now is seeing an increase. The same trends were seen for ad spend. 


When it comes to searches on fashion items, a current rise in searches for lingerie is visible by 15%. Furthermore, clothes for comfort, shoes as well as luxury items have been most searched across countries. 


Looking at year-over-year growth rate of online transactions over the past 7 days now in comparison to the same time last year. Pure e-commerce and accessories revenue saw an increase in countries such as Argentina, the UK, the majority of North America, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Thailan, Japan, and Australia. In comparison, decreases in revenue were visible in countries such as Romania (very strong decrease, -77%), Russia, China, Austria, Spain, and Italy. 

Looking at transactions by region over the past 14 days, the strongest drop in revenue has been seen in the Asia-Pacific. U.S. and Canada as well as West and Central Europe saw little change, whereas the rest of the world actually seemed to have witnessed an increase in revenue.


In France it has been found that online fashion retailers saw a decrease of -9.9% in transaction, yet an increase of 6.1% in traffic. 

It has been suggested that a reason for the different fluctuations are people’s tendency to panic buy



One of the main limitations regarding the data collected is the lack of comparability across the articles as the reviewed article each measured the trends differently. Furthermore it must be noted that the data has been updated daily, hence the found fluctuations now might be different tomorrow.


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