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Growing a business

Coronavirus: Interest trends and the odd silver lining

COVID-19 is impacting on every area of our lives, from work to travel, shopping to schools, and even eating out. However, it’s also leading to a few interesting trends—and some great opportunities for small businesses.

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Categories seeing the highest growth in orders including beer, wine & spirits, toys & games and appliances, interior design and furnishings as more consumers are staying home.


How some small businesses are turning a negative into a positive

Without doubt, we are living in unprecedented times. Here at QuickBooks Commerce, we want to provide our customers with as much information as possible. As the more informed you are, the more prepared you will be, and the better your decisions you be.

We have been looking at trends. And have found some interesting nuggets.

For instance, when it comes to managing COVID-19, different countries are on different trajectories. Could this be an opportunity to upweight to other regions, say from the US to Singapore?

More and more people are staying in and working from home. This is leading to an increase in time spent online. How can you use this to your advantage? One way could be to offer gift cards or special prices for pre-orders, especially if you are facing short- term challenges with your supply chain.

We took a look at the aggregated orders across some of our key merchant categories. And along the way, we compiled some useful links. So let’s dive in.

Latest trends from the world of fashion

Whilst weekly orders are down from February, there has been limited impact in the past three weeks. In fact, week on week, there has even been some growth in the past seven days.


In China, who are leading the way in managing this pandemic, the Chinese Textile and Apparel Chamber of Commerce (CCCT), reports a positive trend in the resumption of apparel operations—with 80% capacity now the norm.

Nike has recently shared that its digital sales in Greater China increased by over 30%, while brick and mortar retail sales were down due to temporary store closures due to COVID-19. 

Most other countries have taken COVID-19 seriously and are taking precautions to contain the virus. Even so, many apparel production countries, such as India, Bangladesh, and Turkey, are operating as usual.

Some brands are using this time to showcase their commitment to social purpose, driving positive brand sentiments. For example, in the US Crocs is giving all healthcare workers a free pair of Crocs for work through its ‘A Free Pair for Healthcare’ program.


For other brands, including department stores, offering contactless delivery services has helped them to sell more. However, it will take time for them to build comprehensive platforms that truly resonate with consumers in the long term. 

For the latest news on how COVID-19 is impacting the Fashion & accessories industry, we found this great source.

How well is the health and wellness sector doing?

Up until last week, things had been mainly on the up for this quarter. While we don’t have a crystal ball to see if this trend will continue, we do know one thing. Now’s the ideal time for health and wellness brands to show their empathy. 


However, with consumer priorities appearing to be shifting away from non-essential and nice-to-have items, how can you support them at this time?

One way is to take a look at some findings from the Global Wellness Summit (GWS). This international organization is made up of spa and wellness industry leaders have made a number of predictions for 2020—many of which are now more relevant than ever. For instance:

Circadian health optimization

Syncing your daily routine by listening to your body’s internal clock can influence your sleep patterns, hormones, and body temperature.


Digital Mindfulness

Social media is flooded with people looking to find the calm in the storm with various apps, accessories, and wellness products.

If the health and wellness area is of interest to your business, here are some brands who are creating much-needed products and offering support to healthcare workers right now.

It’s game on for the sports and fitness industry

As more consumers are stuck at home, they are looking for creative ways to stay fit, and we have seen orders for products in this category continue to increase week on week.


It’s been a bumpy ride for other parts of the industry though. Due to COVID-19, most gyms and other fitness clubs have had to close their physical outlets. However, many are now streaming live classes online, and mostly at reduced prices. This way, they can continue to engage with their customers.


Peloton is a great example of a well-placed brand at this time. In the US, UK, and Canada, it has extended its free trial period from 30 days to 90 days. While, New Balance announced on March 27 that its US factories are developing and manufacturing facial masks to help hospitals short on supplies.  

To see for yourself, how the COVID-19 situation is impacting the fitness sector, take a look at this report from GWS.

When the going gets tough for F&B, the tough get cooking

This quarter, we had been seeing strong growth in this sector. However, last week’s orders dipped, and it may be a trend that continues for a while yet. Especially, as lockdowns and even social distancing have forced many restaurants and cafes to close around the world. 


Panic buying in supermarkets has led to some chains introducing limits on the number of certain products that consumers can buy. In addition, many suppliers have put additional health and safety measures in place to keep their employees safe.

As expected, frozen and packaged food purchases have increased as consumers continue stocking their homes with long-lasting foods.

Many businesses are adapting their offering by creating or expanding their takeaway or delivery options. In Sydney, for instance. Some craft breweries have switched focus to manufacturing hand sanitizer.  

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Having a distillery we are constantly using high-grade, high-alcohol ethanol, blending, distilling to make gin and different products. So we're constantly using the main ingredient of hand sanitiser, which is ethanol," — Young Henrys Brewing and Distilling co-founder Oscar McMahon in the Sydney Morning Herald

This link tracks consumer spending across various product categories. 

In times of trouble, toys and games are a great distraction

With more people staying indoors, we are seeing an increase for toy and game orders, as everyone looks to keep themselves entertained.


In South Korea, who were hit by the pandemic earlier than most countries, online toy sales continue to grow significantly. In fact, online sales of educational toys have grown by 360% year on year.


Playmobil released a stop-motion video, using its iconic figures and comforting characters to explain the coronavirus outbreak to kids,.This has been positively received by parents and kids alike, The video - also shows young ones how they can spend their time at home and still have fun, including crafts, books, and by watching movies.

For more news on how COVID-19 is impacting the toy industry, please visit: Live Coronavirus in Toy Trades by TNP Media.

We will continue to share updated data each week, so be sure to return to keep yourself up with the latest trend data.

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