Source: The Wall Street Journal
The coronavirus pandemic accelerated a major shift in the retail industry. Traffic to stores evaporated. Online credit-card transactions soared. E-commerce sales in the second quarter rose by 44.5% compared with the same period in 2019 and they now make up 16% of all U.S. retail sales, according to the Commerce Department.
Consumer spending has picked up since many cities and states began lifting lockdown restrictions and allowing stores to reopen in May, but only some sectors have regained lost ground. Sales, profits and hiring at many grocers and home-improvement retailers are up. Many apparel sellers have slashed staff and closed stores for good. Weekly foot traffic from July until the second week of September is down by an average of 14% compared with the same period a year ago, according to mobile-device location data from foot-traffic analytics firm Placer.ai.
The pandemic pushed many of the last online-shopping holdouts over the e-commerce hump. Online transactions with credit and debit cards have increased an average of 88% each month since the beginning of April, according to weekly transactions collected by financial-data firm Facteus.
Home Depot Inc. said online sales doubled in the second quarter, while Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. said the retailer’s online sales nearly tripled in the same period.