For the past several weeks, a chorus of business analysts and marketing pundits have been proclaiming that the COVID-19 pandemic is driving a substantial step-change in online shopping and buying. E-commerce sales have been growing rapidly for several years, but it's difficult to argue with the proposition that 2020 will turn out to be a major inflection point for online commerce.
If we want "hard" evidence regarding the pandemic-driven growth of e-commerce, we need look no further than the most recent quarterly earnings reports of five large U.S. retailers. All these enterprises reported astounding increases in e-commerce sales, compared to the same fiscal quarter of 2019:
- Lowes - Lowes.com sales increased 135%
- Home Depot - Sales "leveraging" Home Depot's digital platforms increased 100%
- Target - Digital sales increased 195%
- Walmart - U.S. e-commerce sales grew 97%
- Amazon - Online product sales increased 40%. (Note: This does not include revenues from AWS, Amazon's cloud platform.)