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Online Sales Soar As COVID-19 Spread Globally, Online Coffee Sales Surge and Fastenal Brings Internet Vending Machine Business In-House

Online shopping on an ipad

Online Buying Soars As COVID-19 Spreads Globally

As billions of people stay home across the globe, ecommerce is booming. In North America, online orders for web-only online retailers were up 52% year over year in the United States and Canada for the two weeks of March 22 through April 4. Web-only retailers revenue in the United States and Canada was up 30% year over year for that period. Among primary store-based retailers, online orders in the United States and Canada were up 56% year over year for the two weeks of March 22 through April 4, while online sales grew 43% compared with the same period a year earlier. Online grocery revenue spiked higher than ecommerce sales, with United States online grocery sales up 233% for the month of March compared with August 2019. Online traffic is up over 300% for some grocery retailers, while in-store traffic has declined 45%.

What stood out to us? Not a smart time to put that ecommerce project on hold.

Coffee beans

Black Rifle Coffee Online Sales Surge

With consumers drinking more coffee at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, sales have increased 30% year over year in March for the online retailer Black Rifle Coffee. A typical consumer has a cup of coffee at home and then a few more cups at the office or at a cafe. As many more consumers are working from home, those office and cafe drinks are now being consumed at home. In addition to one-off sales, Black Rifle has also seen an increase in its subscription program, with its coffee club growing to more than 100,000 members from just 85,000 a few weeks ago. 

What stood out to us? A shot of espresso please.

Nuts and bolts

Fastenal Brings Internet Vending Machine Business In-House

The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting B2B ecommerce and creating challenges for distributors. However, Fastenal, a wholesale distributor of products ranging from construction fasteners to 3D printers is continuing to thrive. Last week, Fastenal made a big move regarding its vending machine business. The distributor is spending an undisclosed amount to purchase certain assets of Apex Industrial technologies LLC, an automated point-of-us dispensing and supply chain technology development company. “Our relationship with Apex in 2008 helped to make the industrial vending solution scalable,” says Fastenal president and CEO Dan Florness. “This transaction allows both organizations to move forward with their unique strategic plans while still providing an avenue for additional collaboration,”

What stood out to us? Fastenal may want to consider coffee vending machines as well.

In the headlines

  • Not picture worthy: Sales plummet for bag and camera gear retailer amid COVID-19.
  • Cheers: Online wine merchants report triple digit sales growth during the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Calling all crafters: Etsy rallies its sellers to make face masks.

Before you go


This Q&A about how the coronavirus is impacting B2B companies.

Learn why...

Coronavirus has B2B sellers nervous over digital sales. 

See how...

Consumers are playing the grocery delivery lottery during COVID-19.

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