How Covid Affected Online Shopping in Several Pictures

Nonstore Sales (Think Amazon)

The chart shows nonstore retail sales / retail sales excluding restaurants, gasoline, grocery stores, and motor vehicles and parts.

Those categories are things one does not normally buy online.

Some do purchase non-perishable grocery items from Amazon or other nonstore retailers, but not generally and not enough to matter. 

Three Point Synopsis

  1. At the start of the recession in February, 26.7% of retail sales with noted exclusions came from nonstore retailers.
  2. The percentage shot up to 35.28% in April.
  3. The percentage is back to 29.9% in September but still over three percentage points higher than in February.

If we counted hotel and plane reservations as online sales, the percentages would be even higher.

Long-Term Trend

Nonstore Retail Sales as Percent of Advance Retail Sales 2020-09

The detail chart makes the trend look linear when in fact the trend follows an exponential or polynomial path.

Covid did not change the trend, but it clearly accelerated the trend. 

Advance Retail Sales Select Categories

Advance Retail Sales Select Categories 2020-09

For discussion of the above chart, please see Retail Sales Surge in September, What to Make of It?

The Death of a Mall in Stages

Also see The Death of a Mall in Stages

As many as 25,000 stores could close in the U.S. this year, mostly in malls, according to Coresight. That would demolish the previous record of about 9,800 closures, set in 2019.

What’s Coming?

  • It’s all over for the for the typical mall. 
  • Looking a decade ahead, start pondering the fate of gas stations as electric vehicles take over.


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