According to eMarketer, US ecommerce sales will reach $794.5 billion this year, up 32.4 percent year-over-year—a level not previously expected until 2022 and a much higher growth rate than the 18 percent the researcher predicted in its Q2 forecast.
“While much of the shift has been led by essential categories like grocery, there has been surprising strength in discretionary categories like consumer electronics and home furnishings that benefited from pandemic-driven lifestyle needs,” said Andrew Lipsman, eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence.
In an Inmar Intelligence survey of more than 300 US consumers, 78.7 percent reported shopping online for groceries after the onset of the pandemic, up 39 percent from before the crisis.
Of those polled by Inmar, 51.4 percent reported buying groceries on Amazon since the start of COVID-19, up 32 percent from before the pandemic. Similarly, brand manufacturers saw a 117 percent surge in direct-to-consumer (DTC) grocery sales after the pandemic started, while online grocery stores saw a 48 percent increase.
Ecommerce sales will reach 14.4 percent of all US retail spending this year and 19.2 percent by 2024. When excluding categories sold almost exclusively offline, such as gas and auto sales, ecommerce penetration surges to 20.6 percent, according to eMarketer.
The researcher says that online shopping is so solid that it will more than offset the 3.2 percent decline in brick-and-mortar spending this year, which will decrease to $4.711 trillion. The result will be flat total retail sales in the US.
The surge in ecommerce will also mean a widening of shares of the top 10 ecommerce players, who will account for 63.2 percent of all online sales this year, up 57.9 percent in 2019.
According to eMarketer, Amazon’s share will increase to 39 percent this year and Walmart’s will reach 5.8 percent. In addition, Best Buy and Target—both expected to surge more than 100 percent—will see their ecommerce sales more than double, due in large part to the popularity of their curbside pick-up services. New to the list is The Kroger Co., which will displace Macy’s as the 10th biggest retailer by ecommerce sales.