Disappearance of Covid restrictions hits e-commerce volumes

Staff at an e-Selver logistics center.
Staff at an e-Selver logistics center. Source: ERR

While recent decisions to end most coronavirus restrictions in Estonia have impacted online shops of major food retailers, volumes have stabilized at a higher level than previously, traders say.

Companies invested heavily in e-platforms and home delivery when the coronavirus pandemic started and restrictions were strictest two years ago. E-commerce exploded and even though grocery stores and supermarkets never closed, it was easier to have your shopping delivered to your doorstep in the crisis.

Now that the obligation to wear a mask has been abolished as the last social restriction to be lifted, customers are returning to shops in person, Kristjan Anderson, head of business estimation for the Selver chain of supermarkets said. "To compare recent weeks to the start of the year, the decline has been 10-15 percent," Anderson told ERR.

He added that e-commerce volumes grew in magnitudes when Covid first hit and current volumes remain way ahead of the pre-pandemic situation.

Anna Maria Naanuri, head of communications for Maxima's home delivery service Barbora, said that they have not noticed a slump in online orders lately.

E-commerce has become a convenience service by today, she said, adding that changes in the number of online orders rather depend on the weather.

"Our peak time is the fall-winter season when the customer is inconvenienced by going shopping. Poor weather sends customers looking for a more convenient alternative, so I would not associate fluctuation with restrictions," Naanuri said.

Head of e-commerce for Prisma Peremarket supermarkets Sven-Erik Veimer said that the number of e-orders has not fallen considerably, while people's shopping preferences have changed. He explained that while online orders of training equipment, clothes and household goods have fallen, groceries volumes remain unchanged.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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