Ecommerce Marketplace Activity August 2020

Wednesday September 2, 2020 | Posted at 9:52 am | By Paul Dicken
September 2, 2020 @ 9:52 am

In this post we continue our monthly retrospective of GMV we’ve seen across the Volo Origin platform and use it as a guide to inform our perspective on marketplaces and the complete ecommerce environment. Volo customers sell on both marketplaces and their webstores, so our own data should be a pretty good proxy for what the market is seeing.

Here are the figures week-by-week for August 2020. They make for pretty interesting viewing. As always, for comparison purposes we’ve taken a ‘same set’ group of established customers, in order to see the year-on-year growth as a reflection of their growth rather than any changes in our own customer base. Week of the 27th July includes the 1st and 2nd of August and the week of 24th August goes up to Sunday 30th August. Because of the way the week falls, we’ll wrap Monday 31st August into September’s review

  • Week of 27th July, GMV was up 1% on the week before, and up 18% on the same week in 2019
  • Week of 3rd August GMV was up 7% on the week before, and up 17% on the same week in 2019
  • Week of 10th August, GMV was about the same as the week before (with rounding), and up 18% on the same week in 2019
  • Week of 17th August, GMV was about the same as the week before, and up 31% on the same week in 2019
  • Week of 24th August, GMV was about the same as the week before, and up 17% on the same week in 2019

Yet again, as you would expect, August ecommerce mirrors the UK national economy stuttering in the new post-lockdown world. Increased ecommerce demand is still there, and physical retail is continuing to rebound, with the notable exception of the entertainment industry which has perhaps the most challenging circumstances of all.

The data for August looks particularly interesting though. In last month’s analysis we pondered if the 2020-2019 ecommerce uplift of about a fifth at the end of July was where the economy would settle, but we felt it was very early to call.

Looking at the data for August in more detail, we see that with the exception of the outlier week of 17th August, GMV plateaued and growth over last year remained pretty constant in the 17-18% range. So it looks like our speculation about the virus spike levelling off is holding true for now. That said, it is of course extremely hard for businesses to plan – and therefore for us to forecast – against the background of wait-and-see approaches and regional re-lockdowns depending on coronavirus spikes.

We’re still not sufficiently far into Autumn to predict a winter flu recurrence exacerbated by a coronavirus resurgence. The schools are only just going back and so uncertainty around what September holds is very high. This month also signals the return from holidays and the rapid acceleration into top gear for the Q4 peak, so to say there’s a lot to play for is perhaps the understatement of what will be a challenging month.

Against this kind of picture, as we’ve said on this blog many times before, it always pays to have a multichannel strategy so that you can switch horses and rebalance quickly in the face of whatever the next weeks, months and 2021 throws at you.

To discuss where you see your own ecommerce business going in Q4 and 2021, or to get our view on what your online channel mix looks like, please get in touch with us here.

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