Marketing Strategies

Consumers Respond as Lockdown Eases

We are now two months into the COVID-19 pandemic and many parts of the world are starting to ease the lockdown restrictions put into place to flatten the curve.

Countries throughout Asia-Pacific and Europe, including the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and Spain have all started easing restrictions and are slowly allowing people to return to their normal lives to varying degrees. In the United States, similar trends are following suit as non-essential businesses continue to reopen with proper safety measures in place. This week in our resource centre: Commerce, Consumers and COVID-19, we’re taking a closer look at how shopping habits have evolved as shoppers around the world have adjusted to life under lockdown. ·

  • Clicks and orders on our network in both France and the U.K. are both up, reflecting increasing consumer confidence and purchasing interest.
  • Shoppers around the world are spending more of their money on clothes than on any other product category. Apparel orders grew by 40% month over month in APAC in April. This month, apparel remains the most popular category in terms of share of orders in France, Germany, and the U.K.

Shoes and apparel have been popular in part because people are spending more time at home and deciding to either upgrade their athleisure or exercise wardrobes. With that in mind, we took a look at how US consumers have changed their spending on shoes and apparel.

  • Spending per item in the apparel and shoe category dropped slightly year-over-year in March and April, to $33 and $28 respectively in 2020, down from $36 and $36 during the same periods in 2019.
  • Overall spending per order has dropped by 16% month over month, from $94 in March 2020 to $79 in April 2020.
  • The good news for retailers is that while spending per order has dropped, overall sales in the shoe and apparel category grew by 6% month-over-month in April, indicating that more consumers are feeling comfortable buying clothes online as the pandemic goes on.

While there are signs of hope, the reality is that many businesses find themselves in a position where they’ve had to continue to adjust their overall digital marketing strategies in order to account for reduced budgets.

We asked our teams for some tips on what advertisers who find themselves in a position where they need to scale back can do:

Consider All Options
Work with your account teams to determine what options are available for you with a reduced affiliate budget and determine how you can get the most out of those limited resources. Once you decide on a path forward, make sure you communicate those changes to your publishers and your account teams, including when those program optimisations will take effect, so that everyone is on the same page.

Adjust Your Commissioning Strategy
Leverage Rakuten Advertising’s Dynamic Commissioning tool to promote sales of products that might be more popular right now, such as workout clothes or patio furniture. Pulse commission rates to help generate demand during peak periods, but conserve spend during off periods. This will help you to strengthen your relationships with key publishers.

Try and Shift Toward Future Dates
One of the realities in the affiliate marketing world is that sometimes placements are booked months in advance. Our teams recommend that if you have done this and suddenly find yourself bound by budget constraints or the fact that you’re not currently shipping orders, work with your publisher to move a placement that may have been booked for May to June or a later date when business has returned to normal. This will allow you to preserve the relationship with the publisher and guarantee that you are better positioned to rev up your marketing once business as usual resumes.

Give Back
Partnering with cause loyalty publishers that are using commissions to fight COVID-19 could go a long way towards creating a lasting impression with shoppers. Consider partnering with these publishers to show consumers that you are committed to doing your part as a business to help flatten the curve and are willing to put your money towards it.

Rakuten Advertising will continue to keep you updated with strategies and insights from our network. For more strategic insight, specific to your company, please reach out to your Rakuten Advertising representative. For more insights and data related to COVID-19, visit

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