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Kazakhstan’s E-Commerce grows fitfully during COVID-19 pandemic: yStats.com report

The new publication from Germany-based business research firm yStats.com, “Kazakhstan B2C E-Commerce and Payment Market 2020 & COVID-19’s Impact,” reviews ongoing trends in online retail in the Central Asian nation, and details the effects of the current global pandemic. The report reveals an initial boost to digital transactions during the coronavirus crisis and its confinement restrictions.

Early growth in online commerce during pandemic not sustained

The COVID-19 lockdown period in Kazakhstan in mid-March to May brought an early surge in E-Commerce activity as consumers turned to shopping from home, accentuating a movement to online shopping that was already in process. However, as the country encountered a new wave of coronavirus infections and went into lockdown again in early July 2020, the future of online retail become less certain amid declining disposable incomes with high unemployment. The coronavirus pandemic decreased online spending for a greater percentage of shoppers than the share that purchased more, according to surveys cited in the yStats.com report, an indication that the health crisis has had a devastating effect on the Kazakhstan economy.

Clothing and food are items most ordered prior to and during the pandemic

The product categories most purchased online in Kazakhstan in 2019 were clothing, shoes, and sporting goods, followed by food, and household goods. During the COVID-19 outbreak in March through May 2020, the leading products remained basically the same, with computers and mobile phones displacing household appliances in third place, as workers attempted to set up connections to work from home. As for services ordered online, food delivery increased in demand during the pandemic. The yStats.com report indicates that much of the growth in online purchasing during the early months of the coronavirus crisis came through social network sites such as Instagram.

Cards nearly equal cash payment for online goods and services

Cash on delivery was the leading method of payment for goods ordered online in Kazakhstan through the developing years of E-Commerce, but bank card nearly caught up with COD in 2019. The spread of coronavirus in the spring months further nudged the movement toward cashless payments, according to the yStats.com report. During the height of the pandemic in Kazakhstan, payments for digitally ordered goods accounted for around four fifths of all plastic payments, up from just over three fifths in the same months last year. Consumers in the Central Asian nation have made a local marketplace, Kaspi.kz the leading online shopping destination. Orders on Kaspi’s website more than doubled during the first four months of 2020 compared to the same period last year.