U.S. e-commerce sales grew exponentially in the second quarter, an unprecedented impact brought by the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. online sales surprisingly reached a new high thanks to the pandemic. U.S. retail sales, however, are significantly lower as brick-and-mortar stores continue to struggle despite the country’s effort to revive its economy.
US Q2 online sales up by 32%
As per the quarterly report issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce last week, U.S. online sales racked up an estimated 31.8% seasonally adjusted increase in the second quarter of 2020—a massive gap compared to its first-quarter total sales.
Separately, consumers spent a total of US$211.5 billion in the second quarter.
Contrary to its last year’s percentage of the same period, the segment soared as much as 44.5% as well. Overall, e-commerce surpassed its first-quarter ratings of 11.8% and now accounts for 16.1% in all U.S. sales.
It appears the health crisis has accelerated the shift to e-commerce. It shut down nearly all brick-and-mortar stores and left them with no choice but to adapt to the new normal—which is online selling—to weather the ongoing crisis.
In return, it also forced consumers to pivot to digital shopping.
But the shift has also benefited several retail giants. Walmart, for example, saw a massive increase in its second-quarter sales after its online sales climbed as much as 97%. Amazon and Target saw significant growth in their digital sales too.
US retail falls further
U.S. retail sales, on the other hand, are facing significant losses.
Per the U.S. Department of Commerce’s data, total retail purchases in the country declined further in the second quarter, with a 3.9% drop from the first quarter’s percentage. In comparison to 2019’s rate of the same period, U.S. retail sales shrank by 3.6%.
Sales for book stores, home garden supplies, and sporting goods, for instance, were all down in July. Autos and building materials stores added to the segment’s sluggish growth as well.
Yet it seems like consumers will continue to shop online despite the reopening of non-essential businesses too.
In the same report, it shows that the public continued to shop online in July too. And that is even after the economy has reopened already. And according to Kantar’s latest report concerning the segment, about 40% of customers said they “significantly increased” their online transactions during the pandemic.
Economists also warned that U.S. retail sales’ downward trend could further slide down if there is no another round of stimulus aid to support the unemployed, which they said had massively contributed to the segment’s rebound in May and June.