Consumers in the US spent $211.5 billion during the second quarter on eCommerce, up by 31.8% quarter over quarter, according to data published Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile though, total retail sales continued to decline during the second quarter because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is good news for eCommerce companies, but bad news overall in terms of economy and social impact.
Consumers spent $211.5 billion online during the second quarter, up 31.8% from the previous quarter. That’s a significant step up from the first quarter, which saw U.S. e-commerce sales of $160.3 billion, an increase of 2.4% from the fourth quarter of 2019. E-commerce now accounts for 16.1% of all U.S. sales, up from 11.8% in the first quarter.
The data provides the latest picture of how the coronavirus pandemic has turbocharged a shift to e-commerce for many Americans.
Many consumers turned online – growth in online grocery, as well
In March and April, facing shuttered brick-and-mortar stores, many consumers turned to online retailers for essential goods like paper towels and hand sanitizer, which also led to an uptick in purchases for things like office supplies and electronics. Online grocery orders also surged as many consumers opted to skip trips to the supermarket.
Total retail sales continued to decline in the second quarter, shrinking 3.9% from the first quarter of 2020, when total retail sales decelerated 1.3% from the fourth quarter of 2019, according to data from the Census Bureau.
Unsurprisingly, major retailers like Amazon, Walmart and Target have benefited from the rapid shift to e-commerce during the pandemic. Both Amazon and Walmart reported massive bumps in e-commerce sales in the last quarter, while Target, which reports second-quarter earnings on Wednesday, saw a spike in digital sales in the first quarter.