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How the pandemic boosted online shopping with 183 billion dollars

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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A full year has passed since the first lockdown swept the global retail landscape, giving an unfathomable boost of 183 billion dollars to e-commerce.

As shopping habits shifted to online, a total of 844 billion dollars was spent in the US during the pandemic period of March 2020 to February 2021, according to figures from Adobe’s Digital Economy Index. Adobe’s data is the only real-time barometer of digital buying, which analyses trillions of online transactions across 100 million products.

At current growth rates, Adobe expects the 2021 calendar year to bring in somewhere between 850 and 930 billion dollars. The pandemic produced a rare step change in online spending, equivalent to a 20 percent boost, and future growth is expected to build off of this gain. 2022 is expected to be the first trillion-dollar year for eCommerce.

Shopping habits and purchasing power have changed

The first two months of 2021 saw consumers spend 121 billion dollars online, a 34 percent growth YoY. During this time the Buy Now Pay Later scheme peaked with a 215 percent YoY growth. Consumers using this service are also placing orders that are 18 percent larger. .

Retailers struggle to meet demand

“Out of stock” messages first peaked in July 2020, where shoppers saw 3x more stockouts compared to a pre-pandemic period. In Jan 2021, out of stock messages were still elevated at 4x pre-pandemic levels.

Branded shopping days lost importance

As online shopping became a ubiquitous daily activity during the pandemic. The five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday 2020 contributed 9 percent less to revenue share during the holiday season, equivalent to 600 million dollars

As shoppers looked for safer ways to shop or to avoid shipping delays, buy-online-pickup-in-store (or curbside) options continued to see traction, growing 67 percent YoY (Feb 2021). In an Adobe survey of over 1,000 U.S. consumers, 30 percent of online consumers prefer curbside/in-store pickup over standard delivery options.

Image: Pexels; Article source: Adobe