COVID-19 impact on Dutch businesses: Online shopping trends on the rise


It was in early March that the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Since then, the Netherlands witnessed a surge in the number of people affected by the virus, which made businesses urge their staff to work from home. As a result, there has been a significant increase in sales outreach from Dutch businesses and a decline in the sales competition as COVID-19 restrictions impacted the economy.

COVID-19 impact on Dutch sales performance

The leading growth platform HubSpot announced its sales analysis report tracking trends across the global customer base. It covers over 70,000 businesses that utilise the platform and sales data analysed over a period of six months from January to June. It provides a unique insight into the impact of the pandemic across businesses and shows that the trade drop off witnessed by the Dutch businesses between March and May. Also, it details that the Netherlands outperformed other markets such as the UK and the US in June. This has been possible with a higher conversion in sales during this month.

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The drop in sales activity in the Netherlands was reflected in the website traffic of Dutch businesses. Again, by mid-May, there was a surge in the website traffic reaching over 19% above the benchmark it witnessed in mid-May as more people opted for online shopping.

Recovery from COVID-19 Crisis

The Netherlands took steps to ease the intelligent lockdown on June 1 after bringing about some relaxations on May 11. And, this is where HubSpot witnessed a reduction in sales and marketing outreach from Dutch businesses. Also, it saw an increase in the sales competition as business operations returned to normal.

Even the website traffic continued to grow in June reaching 22% by the end of the month, which is also the highest point for the first half of the year. This reflected how people spent more time online at home and less time out. Also, it showed that customers interacted with Dutch businesses online more than ever before. Be it Facebook chat or website chatbots, Dutch businesses witnessed a 53% increase in online conversations in May and the same was 63% in June.

“Dutch businesses saw a big drop off in business development in March and April as infections were rising sharply and the public became more cautious about spending. The positive news is that June started showing signs of a small recovery, especially when compared with other major economies. The Dutch peak of converting 16% of sales in June was a strong performance under the circumstances,” said Tjitse Plantenga, General Manager, Benelux at HubSpot. “The increased number of sales emails sent in June that resulted in a low response rate shows that sales staff need to be better aligned with the marketing and customer support teams in order to create higher quality emails that are more relevant and add real value to the customer journey.”

Global ad spends dropped

During the pandemic, businesses all over the world cut down on their ad spends as they slashed their marketing budgets. Globally, the advertising spends peaked at 6% in February as businesses aimed to ramp up marketing activity after Christmas. And, the same dropped by 19% in April. Even by the end of June, the ad spend was still at 15% less than it the pre-pandemic days.

Stock photo from [email protected]/Shutterstock

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