The Shrimp Are Going Online
Bloomberg Businessweek|June 15, 2020
Small European companies that have embraced e-commerce have better odds of surviving the crisis
Cristina Lindblad

Juan Manuel Caro Márquez used to spend his weekdays driving across southern Spain to his favorite fish supplier in the town of Ayamonte, where he would check out the day’s catch, place his bids at the auction, and then haul thousands of kilos of fresh seafood back to his hometown to sell to restaurants.

The stringent lockdown measures Spain instituted in mid-March to combat a surge in Covid-19 cases forced him to stop driving 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles) each week to pick up and deliver the Atlantic Ocean shellfish. For the first time in his three decades as a fishmonger, Caro Márquez spends his mornings at home in the city of Málaga and uses the fish market’s revamped online auction to bid on shrimp and langoustines.

Even as Spain slowly relaxes confinement measures, Caro Márquez says he’s continued to work from home two days a week, saving himself about 20 hours of driving. He’s been so thoroughly converted to e-commerce that he spends the additional time building his own website to sell fish directly to consumers. “It’s innovating or die,” he says. “This crisis is going to be the push that people need to start selling online. We’re years behind the U.S.”

The threat from the coronavirus crisis has been particularly acute for businesses in Spain, where 4 out of 5 small and medium-sized (SME) businesses aren’t equipped to sell online. Per capita sales over the internet amounted to $275 last year, according to market research provider Euromonitor International, compared with $813 in Germany and $1,552 in the U.S.

In Spain and other parts of the continent, the coronavirus outbreak has accelerated what had been a hesitant embrace of e-commerce. Just 17% of businesses with 249 or fewer employees sell online in the European Union, according to Eurostat.

To help speed the transition, European officials are earmarking part of a proposed €750 billion ($847 billion) economic rescue package for investments in artificial intelligence, data and cloud infrastructure, and 5G mobile networks. “It’s an absolute necessity to invest in the digitalization of companies so that they are more competitive,” European Central Bank Vice President Luis de Guindos said in May.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEKView All

Strongmen? Us?

Don’t let their confidence fool you: Xi, Putin, and other authoritarians are increasingly vulnerable at home

6 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 22 - 29, 2021

The Most Broken Business in America

Biden’s Build Back Better plan may make day care more affordable for parents—if the providers don’t go belly up first

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 22 - 29, 2021

The Gucci Girlfriend

A love affair with Sheree McLaughlin led fashion scion Maurizio Gucci to leave his wife—a decision that would get him killed. As audiences ready for Ridley Scott’s retelling in House of Gucci, McLaughlin shares her story for the first time.

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 22 - 29, 2021

Crypto's Regulation Fix: We'll Handle It

Execs say traditional agencies don’t have the tools or expertise to oversee the sector alone

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 22 - 29, 2021

Ghost at the Controls

Boeing insisted pilots didn’t need expensive training for the new 737 Max and wouldn’t have trouble diagnosing software errors midflight. Then Maxes started pointing themselves toward the Earth. Adapted from the new book Flying Blind: The 737 Max Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing, by Peter Robison

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 22 - 29, 2021

Xi's Great Moderation

The Chinese leader wants to downsize the real estate sector, even if it means sacrificing economic growth

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 22 - 29, 2021

There's a Blockchain App for That

○ The technology is being used for digital health passports, banking, and gaming

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 22 - 29, 2021

Teaching Digital Currencies Not to Guzzle

Alternatives to “mining” augur power-sipping coins

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 22 - 29, 2021

Rivian's Success Is a Tribute to Tesla

Why is a company with no sales worth $130 billion? Belief in EVs

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 22 - 29, 2021

Retailers Gain The Upper Hand

○ Supply chain disruptions will mean fewer deep discounts for shoppers this Christmas

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 22 - 29, 2021
RELATED STORIES

The Iberians

The Iberian Peninsula is a geographical concept formed by Spain and Portugal, two geographically united countries but separately by an invisible border.

3 mins read
Lens Magazine
July 2021

The Golden Iron Mineral

PYRITE’S MANY CRYSTAL FORMS KEEP COLLECTORS FASCINATED

8 mins read
Rock&Gem Magazine
June 2021

A CHANCE ENCOUNTER WITH LEAPY LEE

On vacation on the Costa del Sol in Spain, I happened across an English language newspaper named The Euro Weekly News. There was an article signed by Leapy Lee. I wondered, “How many Leapy Lees can there be in this world?” An email address was attached. I contacted him and indeed, it was the British singer of “Little Arrows” fame. “Little Arrows,” an international country rock hit in 1968, made it to No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold three million copies worldwide. I set out to find what Leapy Lee has been doing since 1968.

3 mins read
GOLDMINE
March 2021

Dinosauriana Imagined 13

Dinosauriana Iberiana (A Spain-ful Endeavor)

5 mins read
Prehistoric Times
Winter 2021 #136

Reports of aggressive killer whales

Orcas have reportedly attacked sailboats recently off Spain and

3 mins read
Ocean Navigator
January- February 2021

Te amo

PEPPER DORTHEA TAYLOR & WILLIAM WESLEY SELF SEPTEMBER 12, 2020 • NATCHEZ

4 mins read
Mississippi Magazine
January - February 2021

THE SUZUKI HAYABUSA

Suzuki said the first Hayabusa invented a new category called Ultimate Sport. We said, “Yeah, right,”…until we rode it.

5 mins read
Cycle World
Issue 4 - 2020

VITAMIN D SHOWS SUPER impressive results IN COVID-19

Results just in from a hospital trial in Spain showed vitamin D to produce phenomenal results in preventing the progression of COVID-19.

1 min read
Alternative Medicine
December 2020

THE ART OF THE SNACK Amigo by Nai

This month's The Art of the Snack focuses on a savory destination from Chef Ruben Rodriguez who has taken culinary inspiration from his home in Galicia, Spain. NYers have the ability to enjoy a number of the dishes he grew up eating from his mother's kitchen in Spain. In addition, he gives us the scoop on the restaurant group that he is creating as well as a bit on Nai Tapas and his newest venture, Amigo by Nai.

5 mins read
Athleisure Mag
November 2020

DARCY GERBARG: THE NEW GENERATION OF 3DVR ART

Gerbarg's unique artworks are developed from cropped images taken from her 3DVR colored light sculptures, with a virtual camera, in a virtual world. The color' brush' strokes 'painted' with colored light in the virtual world (3DVR), and the entire process, exclusive of the artist's physical abstract expressionist stroke-making gestures, is digital.

2 mins read
Art Market
Issue #53 November 2020