The onset of COVID-19 in early 2020 flipped traditional marketplaces on their heads. While ecommerce has been on the rise for years, the online shopping trend was exponentially accelerated by the pandemic. Entrepreneur Ethan Bavuu explains this phenomenon, and what it means moving forward.
According to Bavuu, ecommerce has been on the upward trend for a long time. “Since shortly after the advent of the internet, ecommerce has been on the rise year over year,” said Bavuu. “But the unnatural spike we saw in 2020 demonstrated that the pandemic has quickly accelerated the growth of ecommerce.” Bavuu points to U.S. Department of Commerce data as proof. The data shows that in the second quarter of 2020, the U.S. saw a 44.4% increase in online spending from the year before.
But why did the pandemic signify such an increase in ecommerce? The second quarter of the year is when the pandemic was first emerging in the United States. Lockdowns were driving people out of stores and onto the internet. “First and foremost, it became the safer option,” said Bavuu. “Online sales became the preferred method of purchase.”
And as 2020 wore on, says Bavuu, marketplaces that didn’t typically sell online started to adapt. “We saw an increase in grocery stores offering online shopping options,” said Bavuu. These options included home delivery, curbside pickup, and BOPIS–”buy online, pick up in-store.” According to Bavuu, grocery stores are a sector of the retail industry that rarely entertained the idea of online shopping. So the pandemic accelerated the growth of ecommerce in this marketplace exponentially.
Additionally, retailers that were not driven out of business began relying more heavily on their social media platforms. “In 2020, we saw more people setting up their social media marketplaces, and creating shoppable posts,” said Bavuu. “I believe this is a trend that will continue to grow in 2021 and beyond.”
2020 has changed the retail shopping experience forever. The trends that became prevalent this year are going to define retail in the future, with online shopping as a leading force. According to Bavuu, ecommerce is on the rise like never before.