Marketplace Activity May 2020

Friday June 5, 2020 | Posted at 11:00 am | By Paul Dicken
June 5, 2020 @ 11:00 am

At the beginning of May we looked at how the week of April performed week by week across the Volo platform. In this post we review last month, May 2020, as the UK and some other parts of the world started to re-open their societies towards the end of it.

Here are the figures week by week. For May 2020, we’ve made a slight change to the way we’ve calculated figures across the Volo platform. As before, for comparison purposes we’ve taken a ‘same set’ group of established customers, to see the year-on-year growth as a reflection of their growth rather than any changes in the customer base. We’ve also excluded large ‘outlier’ companies to avoid skewing the data. For this reason, we don’t compare the week of the 27th April with the week of 4th May, as that would be comparing apples and oranges.

  • Week of 27th April, GMV was down 4% on the week before, and 77% up on the same week in 2019, from the April 2020 post
  • Week of 4th May, GMV was up 67% on the same week in 2019
  • Week of 11th May, GMV was up 5% on the week before, and up 60% on the same week in 2019
  • Week of 18th May, GMV was up 4% on the week before, and up 78% on the same week in 2019
  • Week of 25th May, GMV was up 1% on the week before, and up 71% on the same week in 2019

Ecommerce growth continued on its upward trajectory through the second quarter of 2020. Following the huge surge in the second half of March, when lockdown kicked in, April continued where the previous month left off. For the month of May we saw a further growth on April’s figures as ecommerce became a more established and dare we say engrained behaviour among shoppers, despite the easing of restrictions.

Looking at May on a week-by-week basis and we can see how this unfolded. The year-on-year figures maintained their dramatic uptick, with an average weekly 71% increase on the same period in 2019.

The last week of May was about level to the week before. Perhaps we can put this down to the bank holiday on Monday the 25th which coincided with some very warm weather towards the end of the month.


What does June and the summer hold for ecommerce? Clearly a number of factors come into play here, including the continued easing of restrictions, the possibility of a second spike in Covid-19 cases, the weather, and so on.


Another key factor, and possibly the key factor, is the behaviour of shoppers as we return to genuinely multichannel buying options. We wrote recently about the very large percentage of new customers fuelling the growth in ecommerce, and we asserted that if sellers can keep a good proportion of them it augurs well for the medium term.


Internet Retailing published a study last week about shopper sentiment. As you might expect, 89% of shoppers have stopped or reduced their in-store shopping. More telling is the figure of 44%, the percentage that say they will carry on shopping the way they currently are, once the current health crisis is over. The study speculates that over half of shoppers are “in no hurry for a trip down their local high street.”


For the medium-to-long term, the study uncovered a third of respondents with the view that it will be a year or two before we return to normal shopping activity. As we leave the summer months behind and move into the cooler autumn months and the onset of the traditional flu period, we will also be looking at a winter with coronavirus and no widely available vaccine.


We still maintain the view that the long term picture for ecommerce is likely to be the middle ground between the current elevated levels and the pre-coronavirus levels. If ecommerce has roughly doubled over the coronavirus period, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that a 50% uplift is sustainable in a fully open – or largely open – society.


So that’s the demand side. On the supply side, it’s clear that being multichannel is the risk-spreading insurance contract for retailers. Those that have an established online channel are better placed than those who are currently scrambling. In the purely online world, you can make the same argument: the more online web stores and marketplaces you have a presence in, the better placed you are to accommodate the uncertainty and absorb any upheaval in one channel.


To talk us through your ecommerce ambitions for the rest of 2020 and beyond, please get in touch with us here.

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