BorderX Lab, an e-commerce platform behind the Beyond app, has seen "increased web traffic and new user sign-ups as Chinese consumers are turning to e-commerce to buy luxury goods and essentials" following the COVID-19 outbreak, according to information sent to Retail Dive. The company did not comment regarding the percentage increase of traffic and new customers.
About 12 million global Chinese shoppers use BorderX Lab's Beyond app, which uses artificial intelligence and recommendations to drive consumer purchases, the company noted.
The app currently features more than six million products from retailers including Alexander Wang, Macy's, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sam's Club and Foot Locker, the company said in an email.
The dispatch from BorderX Lab is the latest indicator of how the COVID-19 outbreak, an illness caused by a member of the coronavirus family, has impacted the retail sector's logistical operations. Multiple brands, including Levi's, Under Armour, Apple and Gucci, have experienced slowdowns and shortages and have had to make adjustments as a result of the outbreak.
"Luxury brands are closing doors in China and Hong Kong and the retail industry is downgrading their sales expectations due to the global health precautions as a result of the Coronavirus," BorderX Lab noted in the email. "The Coronavirus is forcing luxury brands and retailers to rethink their China strategy, placing great emphasis on cross-border e-commerce."
In a follow-up email to Retail Dive, the company declined to share how much of an increase its business has received due to COVID-19. However, a spokesperson for the company said that "BorderX Lab is up 2.1 times year-over-year so far this year in [Gross Merchandise Volume]."
According to the World Health Organization's Feb. 18 situation report, 73,332 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide, 72,528 of which have been confirmed in China.
The outbreak has come as U.S. and China have been engaged in a trade dispute, introducing tariffs on one another's goods. But retailers have turned to platforms like Alibaba's subsidiary Tmall to court Chinese consumers and Alibaba has introduced its e-commerce platform to American businesses and created an English-language site to attract brands.