2022 Online Retail Forecast Report
COVID Catapults E-commerce Sales to $1 Trillion
July 11, 2022
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COVID-19 isn’t entirely behind us, but everyday life has largely resumed a semblance of normalcy and most Americans are back to living as they did before the pandemic. That is not to say we will be resuming all our pre-pandemic lifestyles and habits. COVID-19 forced many changes upon us, some of which we are eager to ditch (e.g., virtual Happy Hours) and others that will stick to some degree (e.g., teleworking). For large retailers, understanding what pandemic-induced changes in shopping habits will stick with their customers is critical to planning the path forward.
U.S. e-commerce retail sales enjoyed four quarters of hypergrowth from 2Q20 through 1Q21, during which time quarterly online sales growth (YoY) ranged from 45% to 53% compared to a consistent low- to mid-teen growth rate in the years preceding the pandemic — or the equivalent of nearly three years of sales gains in those four quarters, while online market share approached 21%. Online retail sales grew by nearly 43% in 2020 and another 18% in 2021 (much of it in 1Q21), even more than previous estimates, as the U.S. Census Bureau recently revised its online retail sales data for 2020 and 2021 materially higher than it originally reported. As much as e-commerce prospered during the pandemic, it was even better than first thought, with online retail sales over this two-year period revised upward by $140 billion from what was initially reported, or about 9% higher, further amplifying its standout performance. Consequently, U.S. e-commerce retail sales (LTM) are poised to hit the $1 trillion mark in 3Q22, representing a doubling of sales in just four years.
July 11, 2022
Senior Managing Director, Leader of Retail & Consumer Products Practice