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05 March 2020 - 10:18 by Simon Crisp

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Companies including Amazon have announced that some customers will need to put up with slower deliveries than usual in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, confirming fears that the rise in safe shopping online caused by this issue would put unprecedented strain on e-commerce retailers.

In particular, it is the Amazon Prime next-day delivery service which is being hampered by the increased volume in orders being experienced in certain parts of America at the moment, according to CNBC.

With more cases being announced in the UK and extensive government planning going on in order to tackle the virus, a similar state of affairs is likely to arise on British soil.

It is not just the fact that more people are buying online to make sure that they do not come into contact with others in public and thus mitigate the risks of infection: it is also that people are panic-buying essential items in anticipation of shortages.

As is often the case, the shortages themselves are artificially caused by this sudden spike in spending, with the stockpiling being blamed for the issue rather than the supply chains.

While online outlets are well equipped to handle peak periods of trading seen in the run-up to Christmas, with thousands of temporary workers hired in anticipation of the growth in demand, no such plans were in place for an unpredictable pandemic such as this.

Just under 100,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed globally since the outbreak began last December, with the World Health Organisation confirming that the death rate sits at around 3.4 per cent. It looks like this issue will persist for the coming weeks and months as steps are taken to address it, during which time the economic impact on the retail sector and other industries could be marked.