The Impact of Online Sales on Recovery from COVID-19
Keywords:Online sales, Recovery, Cash flow adequacy, Firm size, Manufacturing firms
The massive spread of the COVID-19 outbreak has widely disrupted business activities around the world. In such a context, more manufacturing enterprises have to turn to online sales to restore sales and workforce. However, the actual effects of above relationships are still unknown. The aim of this study is to analyze whether and how online sales affect sales and workforce recovery from COVID-19. Meanwhile, we deeply explore the mediating effect of cash flow adequacy and the moderating effect of firm size. Drawing from a cross-country survey with 2714 manufacturing enterprises during the COVID-19 pandemic and controlling for self-selection bias, we find an inverted U-shaped effect of online sales on sales and workforce recovery. Online sales also exert an inverted U-shaped effect on cash flow adequacy, whereas this effect is weaker for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Furthermore, cash flow adequacy positively facilitates sales and workforce recovery, indicating the role of cash flow adequacy in partially mediating the relationship between online sales and recovery. In addition, we confirm that firm size moderates the indirect effect of online sales on sales and workforce recovery through cash flow adequacy. This study not only expands e-commerce and emergency management research domain and enriches the results of related research, but also provides management implications for the recovery of manufacturing enterprises from the perspective of online sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.