Online marketplaces to bounce back from coronavirus pandemic

55% of online marketplaces were found to be in a good position to navigate the pandemic, including grocery and takeaway food delivery, and eCommerce.

A further 23% of marketplace startups, meanwhile, have the possibility of experiencing a sharp recovery. These include the banking and insurance, and proptech sectors.

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However, 22% have been found to be vulnerable as a result of the crisis, including the events and travel industries, and large swathes of investment are still largely undigitized, such as in housing and mobility, suggesting that there is further growth to come.

“The coronavirus has put entire industries on hold, while in others it brought decades of progress in a few months,” said Ovidiu Solomonov, senior vice-president for global markets at Adevinta.

“However, the crisis has also amplified the role of online marketplaces: by delivering trust and transparency to end users, they have the power to unlock supply, especially in sectors which until now were heavily regulated or lowly digitised.”

Mathias Ockenfels, general partner at Speedinvest, added: “Since only a fraction of consumption is currently digitised, there is still huge growth potential in marketplaces as more consumers in markets around the world adapt rapidly to buying goods and services through online platforms.

“This had already caused huge disruption to the retail industry but following the pandemic will affect other sectors increasingly.”

Healthcare and education

Healthcare platforms in particular stands out as a prosperous space for growth as consumers’ appetite for remote access to medical supplies has increased. In a separate study from Doctolib, 74% of doctors and 81% of patients surveyed stated that they would continue to use video consultation following the pandemic.

Another sector that is set to benefit is education, with learning apps being downloaded at four times the rate of last year.

Compiled by, the report has attributed a pending resurgence in online marketplace business to accelerated digital adoption due to regulation being largely side stepped during the crisis.

“In healthcare, education and industry specific B2B platforms, regulation or established business practices have previously hindered the transition to online marketplaces,” said Pawel Chudzinski, co-founder and managing partner at Point Nine.

“The last three months have demonstrated that technology adoption, out of necessity, can create new opportunities much more quickly than previously envisaged.”

Passion economy

Additionally, online marketplaces that cater to customers’ hobbies, categorised as part of the ‘passion economy’, have also been found to potentially prosper during the pandemic.

Listed among the 55% of startups that are set to navigate successfully through the crisis include online professional learning platform Udemy, digital coaching platform CoachHub, and Meero, a marketplace for photographers.

A pending global recession over the coming years could mean that people will seek alternative income methods and look to develop their skills.

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Halted sectors

However, the proptech, travel and mobility industries have suffered due to global government regulations halting economic activity and opportunities for people to meet in person.

Between January and May 2020, Expedia and saw their share prices drop by 30-40%, while Lyft and Uber have seen valuations fall by 20-40%.

The activity of over 11,000 online marketplaces were accounted for in the report.

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.