Ecommerce purchases are accelerating

While marketers have been touting the growth of ecommerce for years, in reality, it has always been in the minority of total retail sales. Globally, Statista reports that ecommerce made up a mere 14.1 percent of volume. In the United States, that total was actually even lower, with the U.S. Department of Commerce reporting adjusted ecommerce retail sales for Q4 2019 making up 11.4 percent of total retail.

The large-scale closing down of the brick-and-mortar economy has dramatically altered this picture. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that for March 2020, retail sales fell 6.2 percent year over year. Some retailers, like clothing stores, saw sales fall by more than 50 percent.

At the same time, retailers with a strong ecommerce platform in place have seen their in-store sales replaced by digital purchases. Digital Commerce 360 reports that Target saw digital sales grow 275 percent since April, helping it be on pace for its best quarter since 2000 — even with in-store purchases declining.

This will be a lasting change

While some believe that these shifts are only temporary, consumer polling indicates that this shift to ecommerce is here to stay. Buyers enjoy the convenience of online shopping, and many will still be reluctant to return to old shopping habits even after restrictions are lifted.

An in-depth customer survey by PYMNTS reveals, “More than half of the consumers (52 percent) who shifted to digital grocery shopping say they won’t go back to their old ways of shopping, as online delivery and curbside pickup are gaining ground. And 60 percent of the consumers who shifted to digital to shop for things other than grocery items say the same.”