Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping experienced a boost of $183 billion. This figure demonstrates a surge in online shopping during the months of March 2020, when the pandemic had just started in the U.S., through February 2021. As per the reports, during this time period, U.S. consumers spent a total of $844 billion online. Meanwhile, $813 billion was spent during the calendar year 2020 alone, up 42% over 2019.
The pandemic has acted as a catalyst for many industries, not only speeding up their growth but also pushing them years ahead of where their natural growth would have otherwise taken them.
One of the sectors which were benefitted the most from this trend is the e-commerce sector since customers were obligated to stay home and non-essential retailers closed their doors, and in-person shopping was replaced with online commerce for many consumers. Adobe says the pandemic itself produced a “rare step change in online spending, equivalent to a 20% boost,” and noted the impacts will continue even as the pandemic comes to an end in the months to come.
Hence, various companies witnessed consumer spending of $121 billion in the U.S or a 34% year-over-year increase in just a span of 2 months (Jan-Feb 2021).Also during this time, the buy-now-pay-later method for online shopping has jumped up by 215% year over year, with orders that are 18% larger — another factor in the growing sales driven by these changes. Moreover, it is anticipated that current growth rates will continue, leading to the 2021 calendar year sales of somewhere between $850 billion and $930 billion. It then expects 2022 to deliver the first trillion-dollar year for U.S. e-commerce. Besides the e-commerce sales increases, the pandemic may have also led to other long-lasting changes in terms of how people shop and what they’re buying. Online grocery has taken advantage of change in consumer behavior and doesn’t show any signs of slowing. In Feb. 2021, the category was up by 230% compared with Jan. 2020, pre-pandemic.
Nevertheless, There were some indications that retailers haven’t quite adapted to the surge of new online shoppers. “Out of stock” messages were common, peaking in July 2020, which saw 3x the number of stock-outs compared with a pre-pandemic period. And in Jan. 2021, out-of-stock messages were elevated at 4x pre-pandemic levels. This was common particularly among groceries, pet products, and medical supplies.