Coronavirus lockdowns have prompted many to learn new skills in efforts to make the most of their time at home. For U.S. musical-instrument maker Fender, that meant more people were picking up the guitar, be it for the first time or to strum a few chords after a hiatus.

Fender was able to not only survive but thrive during the pandemic because it also had an e-commerce infrastructure in place that allowed it to swiftly shift its business to the digital sphere and avoid offline disruptions. Sales from Fender's flagship store on Tmall, Alibaba Group's B2C online marketplace, increased by over 50% since the start of the year to July, while sales from offline channels in China grew by just about 10%.

When the company's dealer network was disrupted during China's lockdown months, Tmall provided a trusted resource for consumers to access and learn about Fender's products, said Edward "Bud" Cole, president of Fender Asia. "The biggest learning to come out of Covid-19 is the exaggeration and heightened increase in consumers gravitating to online purchasing and, specifically, for a brand like Fender to fully embrace digital shopping," said Cole. "The next step is just a double, triple and quadrupling down on the Tmall platform, on our investment on every level and what we're offering to our consumers."

Learn more about Fender’s story here.