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2020 E-commerce Sales Dwarfing 2019 So Far

Image via rupixen.com on Unsplash

Everyone knows that e-commerce has become the preferred way to shop over the years. As a matter of fact, last year e-commerce did something it hasn't done since at least 2000 when data started.

According to a Digital Commerce analysis of the U.S. Commerce Department's year-end retail data, e-commerce penetration of total retail spend hit 16% in 2019, up from 14.4% in 2018 and the largest annual increase since at least 2000. Ten years ago, e-commerce penetration was just 6.4%.

E-commerce sales in the U.S. grew by 14.9% last year to $601.7 billion. Although e-commerce sales continued to show solid growth, the $600 billion and change in e-commerce sales last year barely put a dent in the $3.7 trillion in total retail sales.

Due to COVID-19, consumers have increasingly turned to online shopping. As a result, this year's total e-commerce sales could surpass last year's total by as early as October, according to Adobe's Digital Economic Index. Their data shows U.S. consumers have spent a total of $435 billion online so far this year.

2020 is likely to be a record year as their data shows 2019's total could be surpassed by October 4, even as Amazon's Prime Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas would still follow thereafter.

"We've just trained the consumer to shop a different way," Sonia Lapinsky from retail consultancy AlixPartners said. "They're now comfortable at home. They're used to buying things without ever having to leave their house."

Despite the surge in online shopping, growth is slowing as some consumers start to venture back to shopping in person as a result of re-openings. Adobe's data showed a 55% increase in e-commerce spending in July compared to the same period a year earlier. However, the 55% growth is down from the previous two months which both saw annual growth of more than 70%.

As a result of the coronavirus, a new trend also is emerging this year. After Walmart first announced a few weeks ago that it would be closed on Thanksgiving Day, numerous retailers such as Target, Dick's Sporting Goods and Best Buy all decided to also close on the holiday as well and encourage customers to shop online.

While the return to normalcy from the coronavirus remains a large unknown, it's increasingly clear that e-commerce continues to chip away at brick-and-mortar retailers' dominance and should continue to do so well beyond the pandemic.

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