How Covid Affected Online Shopping in Several Pictures

Mish

I went back to the advance retail sales report and created a new chart to better reflect Covid's impact on retail sales.

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.

Mish

Comments (18)
No. 1-9
PecuniaNonOlet
PecuniaNonOlet

14 days till election. I actually started buying stuff from etsy this year, stuff I couldnt find on Amazon. 99% of my shopping is now done online including groceries and I honestly dont want to go back wasting time strolling down aisles looking for stuff.

Eddie_T
Eddie_T

Well, that didn't take long.

First comment of the day gone poof in less than five minutes... Maybe because I mentioned Amazon Prime and some other stores by name? Maybe it was because I said I bought ammo online?

Testing.

Maximus_Minimus
Maximus_Minimus

The shopping mall is an equivalent of the European old town and town square (sans an old church), where people used to walk with family and drink coffee with friends. There are still places on Earth where the natives like to do this stuff, although those are best to be avoided.
The shopping malls could be America's new export industry.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

You think it is bad now just wait..covid is spiking again.

davebarnes2
davebarnes2

Gas stations (which make all their profits from food and cigarettes) are toast.
Most people will start the day our with charged cars (overnight in their garage).
Most people will end their day with plenty of charge to get home.
Why would anyone stop at 7-Eleven or Kum & Go during their commute?

KidHorn
KidHorn

Some malls in upscale areas will survive. Enough women with money still like to shop.

silverdog148
silverdog148

I noticed buying used is starting to become more widespread even among the middle class, Goodwill in my area always has people.

RonJ
RonJ

"As many as 25,000 stores could close in the U.S. this year, mostly in malls, according to Coresight."

It was only recently that malls were allowed to open up, locally.

frozeninthenorth
frozeninthenorth

Funny that you should exclude motor vehicles. Up here in "not crazy" Canada most car sales now are "contactless" there is no more demo cars anyway because of Covid. So you can go to the Mazda website, buy a car, talk to a dealer, have everything done, online, and the car, (like Tesla's) is delivered to your door. I had two friends who did that with their BMW X5 last month.

They said their wife hardly noticed until they got into the new car (car smell and new features...) it was the same color!


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