Hamburg-based business research firm yStats.com has published a new report, “USA B2C E-Commerce and Payment Market 2020 & COVID-19’S Impact.” The report provides details of the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on retail sales in the USA, and specifically on online retail and transaction payments. Yücel Yelken, yStats.com founder and CEO highlights one finding of the publication: “the disruption of the USA’s economy by COVID-19 has resulted in a surge in E-Commerce sales of basic goods.”
The global pandemic has affected E-Commerce in the USA
The United States has reported more COVID-19 cases than any other nation globally, with a devastating effect on the economy. GDP is projected to shrink by one sixth for the first half of 2020 compared to 2019, and total retail sales declined by a tenth during the March-May lockdown period. The yStats.com publication reports that online retail sales, especially of food and personal care products increased dramatically during the same period, and includes projections that the movement to E-Commerce will last beyond the pandemic, as the online share of total retail sales has increased significantly.
Online sales of certain retail segments surged during the COVID-19 health crisis
As federal and local government told US citizens to stay at home in March 2020, shoppers turned to E-Commerce websites to purchase goods and services. Surveys cited in the yStats.com publication indicate that about a fourth of US consumers increased their online purchases in March and by April over a half of respondents had done so. Many consumers have moved to the click and collect or curb-side pickup mode, combining online and at-store shopping. The most sought-after products during the pandemic have been food, health and beauty goods as well as disease-prevention products such as masks and disinfectants. The online food and drink segment is projected to tally a percentage increase of over half compared to 2019. Stay at home orders and the closure of entertainment venues have also led to increased video streaming and gaming sales. Other segments, however, such as online travel and lodging bookings have seen drastic shrinkage during the pandemic.
Consumers have been patient with deliveries, move toward no-touch payments
The spread of COVID-19 has also affected payment practices and the flow of goods ordered online. Credit card remains the preferred method of payment for goods ordered online, though the use of digital wallets is increasing. Concern about cash as a disease vector has increased the use of credit cards in-store, and increased the interest in use of contactless cards and digital wallets stored in mobile phones with NFC capability, according to sources cited in the yStats.com report. The initial surge in online orders in March put pressure on the logistics system, causing an increase in delivery times. E-Commerce seemed to take such delays in stride. Reports from early June suggest that delivery times have returned to normal for the leading E-Commerce merchants, Amazon and Walmart.com.