Evidence For Major Retail Digital Shift Grows


The digital shift in the during the pandemic has been substantial. But the retail industry may need new and bigger adjectives as the COVID-19 crisis wears on in some geographic areas and moves on in others. Because new evidence shows that eCommerce market share could easily double by the end of 2020.

Some of the evidence is domestic; some of it international. As reported in several versions of the PYMNTS COVID-19 tracker project consumers have a lot of conditions on when they will return, if ever, to pre-pandemic shopping behaviors. For example, more than half of the consumers (52 percent) who shifted to digital grocery shopping say they won’t go back to their old ways of shopping, as online delivery and curbside pickup are gaining ground. And 60 percent of the consumers who shifted to digital to shop for things other than grocery items say the same.

And as usual all things in the U.S. begin with Amazon, which struck an aggressive pose this week by essentially creating another Prime Day with its June 22 “Big Style Day” to spike sales. One analyst has now pegged Amazon’s 2020 revenue so high that it could become a $3,000 stock. And a recent analysis from ACI Worldwide showed that general eCommerce grew 209 percent compared to 2019.

Even luxury goods, which have typically relied on personalized in-store shopping, have tried to play catch-up on the digital shift. For example, Bulgari is launching new eCommerce platforms in seven additional countries through July 29. The Rome-based jeweler’s first eShop was launched in 2000 and expanded to the U.S., Canada, China, Japan, U.K., Germany, Spain and Australia. Bulgari Chief Executive Officer Jean-Christophe Babin told WWD the firm’s eCommerce sales have grown more than 100 percent during the crisis, saying that he believes “it will reinforce its leading position” for which the pandemic has been “an accelerating factor.”

A research project from Emarsys in cooperation with GoodData for the past seven days also shows the potential. It reports that online sales for retailers are up 54 percent in the U.S., which compares to 96 percent growth for pure-play sites. For fashion and accessories, online sales in the U.S. are up 65 percent compared to 117 percent for pure-play sites.

“Globally, results are mixed,” says WWD. “In the U.K., online fashion apparel sales are up 45 percent for traditional retailers and 72 percent for pure-play sites. In France, the year-over-year growth for retailers selling fashion apparel is up 42 percent while pure-play sales are up just 1.4 percent. In China, online sales at traditional retailers is down 45 percent year-over-year while pure-play fashion apparel sites show a 65 percent decline.”

Other regions are also seeing the dramatic acceleration. Digital advertising solutions provider Criteo said its market research indicated that more than 50 percent of Asian consumers had more plans to shop online compared to just 17 percent who said they plan to make fewer digital purchases.

“We have seen increased demand for health and personal hygiene products including surgical masks and hand sanitizers, along with other daily necessities such as nonperishable food and beverage products,” said Zhou Junjie, chief commercial officer for Singapore-based eCommerce platform Shopee.

Shopee reports a 74.3 percent jump to reach $6.2 billion for the first quarter. The total number of orders on Shopee reached 429.8 million in the first quarter, compared 203.5 million last year.