Top reads: Latest updates on COVID-19 and its effects across industries

Bas Drogtrop

Mar 24, 2020

Bas Drogtrop

Mar 24, 2020

We are all going through an unpredictable period in the light of the recent outbreak of COVID-19. As we are dealing with the crisis and trying to help slow down the spread, we are closely monitoring trends to keep you informed in the upcoming weeks. That’s why we have congregated some of the most reliable resources for you on a variety of topics to shed a light on the effects of COVID-19 so far.

Table of Contents
  1. The Scale of the Pandemic

  2. Effects of COVID-19 on the Global Economy

  3. How We Can Cope With the Crisis

The Scale of the Pandemic 

On March 11, 2020, WHO declared COVID as a pandemic. According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data, so far 160 countries have been affected by the virus. As of yesterday, the number of confirmed cases globally increased to 332.930, and the number of deaths confirmed as 14.510 (more than 6000 deaths in Italy). You can follow the daily updates on WHO’s Situation Reports. 

People in all affected countries have been advised to stay home to slow down the spread. Here’s a chart from Vox that shows how self quarantine is saving lives. Even though it is not certain when life will go back to how it was, this period will not go on forever. On the good side of things, in China where the outbreak has started, the number of new cases decreased to 34, after 110 days since the first incident was recorded.

Effects of COVID-19 on the Global Economy

With the escalating outbreak, the global economy and almost all industries have been affected. Many governments have been announcing help packages to support businesses and employees. In McKinsey’s recent COVID-19: Implications for  business report, three possible scenarios for the economic recovery are listed. As many offline businesses had to cease operations, quarantined users started relying heavily on delivery services and online shopping behaviors are changing. Last week, Amazon announced that it is hiring 100.000 workers for warehouse and delivery operations to deal with the increasing demand in orders during this time. 

Aviation Industry

Airlines industry is one of the top industries that got affected. After more than 107 countries closed off their air space, several airlines had to let many workers go in order to soften the blow of the crisis. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts that if the virus spreads extensively, airlines could suffer a revenue loss of more than $100 billion. 

A recent report shows travel-related sessions dropped by 14%, with a 20% decrease in sales and a 9% drop in conversions. The pickup date for the travel industry is estimated to be no earlier than Q4 of 2020.   

Travel and Hospitality Industry

Travel and Hospitality industry is similarly taking a blow as most events are canceled, businesses have banned travel, and leisure travel has slumped. See how Expedia is planning to help its partners, and listen to how COVID-19 is Extinguishing Tourism in a podcast episode by eMarketer.

Online Media/News & Streaming Industry

As more people practice social distancing and stay in their homes, page views of news sites have gone up by 30%. Online media sites had a positive impact as people search for news more often in this period. 

According to a recent report home streaming saw a 42% increase and on-demand subscriptions like Netflix have gone up.


There has been a 32% increase in online shopping activities across all Asia markets and the number of sessions is continuing to rise as quarantine practices are ongoing. In a recent Forbes article, it is discussed that the new online shopping behavior of users can continue even after post-corona. 

According to the ROI revolution’s updatesthe growth of eCommerce won’t be negatively affected by the outbreak, yet keeping on-time deliveries and maintaining stocks will be challenging.

Food and Groceries

In most affected countries, restaurants were either closed down by the government or were only allowed to deliver take out. It is becoming more difficult for restaurant businesses to survive.

On the other hand, online grocery delivery businesses have been incredibly busy. Listen to the insights on this eMarketer podcast and how analysts are forecasting that online grocery shopping will remain as a habit in the post-corona period.

On a more positive note, a few brands have found opportunities to innovate customer experiences and reach their users despite the crisis. The luxury brand for shoes and bags, Les Petits Joueuers, has moved its showroom online and is using Augmented Reality (AR) to display its products to drive conversions. For more inspiring innovations see the recent post from Divante compiling the outbreak’s effect on eCommerce industries including food, delivery, cosmetics and more.   

How We Can Cope With the Crisis

By staying indoors and taking social distancing seriously, we can slow down the pandemic together and help the health system take control of the severe cases.

On the business side of things, we’ll keep you company with the latest updates, reports and playbooks. We’ll help you assess the latest trends and updates to best navigate the crisis, and be ready to take action when the time comes.

Bas Drogtrop is responsible for Insider Benelux. With his strong eCommerce knowledge and experience in Adtech and Martech, he helps companies in the Benelux grow their online businesses. Insider Benelux's partner portfolio includes leading retailers such as Hunkemöller, ICI Paris XL, OTTO, and iBOOD.