COVID Causes Major Increase In U.S. Online Retail Sales

U.S. online retail sales will experience a $71 billion windfall in 2020 as a direct result of the impact of COVID-19 on consumers’ shopping habits, says the ‘2020 U.S. Online Retail Forecast’ by FTI Consulting, Inc. It expects U.S. online retail sales of $748 billion in 2020, compared to $598 billion in 2019 and its pre-pandemic 2020 forecast of $677 billion. This implies a 25 per cent increase over 2019, the strongest growth year for online retail sales since 2006, when the channel was still in its infancy. The forecast projects online market share of total retail sales will increase by 350 basis points in 2020, more than double its annual market share gains in recent years. Months of stay-at-home orders and the closures of non-essential businesses have altered consumer habits and the shopping landscape, with online grocery and home-related spending seeing significant increases in sales, while travel-related spending, away-from-home dining and apparel have lagged badly as most Americans continue to stay close to home. The forecast projects that online retail sales now will reach $1 trillion by 2023, a year earlier than last year’s projections. Total U.S. online market share is projected to reach 27 per cent by 2025 and 33 per cent by 2030, compared to 19.2 per cent in 2020.