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Numbers show widespread ecommerce adoption


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Ecommerce sales in the week just ended were 27% higher than they were in the days leading up to the World Health Organization’s declaration that the spread of COVID-19 had reached pandemic status, Signifyd’s Ecommerce Pulse data shows.

The spending increase is worth noting as the pandemic rolls into its 17th week, because the sameness of day-to-day life with the coronavirus can serve to desensitize us to remarkable things that are happening around us.

The parade of weekly double-digit increases in overall ecommerce sales numbers since the pandemic began is a strong indicator that the changes we’ve seen in shopping behavior will be lasting. The intensity might wane, but new online consumer have taken ecommerce to a new level and they will most likely continue to shop online.

As has always been the case, the overall changes in ecommerce spending does not tell the story of individual verticals, but the vast majority of those are also seeing sales well above pre-pandemic levels.

The week-over-week ups and downs for individual verticals for the seven-day period ending June 29, were fairly evenly split. And overall week-over-week spending online was down 3%.

Two categories — Fashion, Apparel & Luggage and Commodities & Collectibles — had particularly strong weeks. Spending in Commodities & Collectibles was up 39% for the week. The category, which includes precious metals, such as gold bars, is now seeing an 88% increase in online spending compared to the week of Feb. 25 to March 2, which we use as a pre-pandemic benchmark.

Fashion and apparel saw sales rise 11% week-over-week, which continues a fairly positive run over the past three months. Spending in the category is up 34% compared to pre-pandemic sales.

Other notable sales shifts for the week include declining sales in the Electronics category and the Leisure & Outdoor categories, both relatively strong performers throughout the pandemic. Electronics sales were off 12% for the week and Outdoor & Leisure fell 15% week over week.

Only two categories are experiencing sales below what they were before the pandemic hit. Beauty & Cosmetics sales are down 3% compared to pre-pandemic levels and Business Supplies, which has been adversely affected by the temporary closure of non-essential businesses, is seeing sales 22% below pre-pandemic receipts.

The higher online spending is being driven in part by new shoppers — consumers who rarely or never shopped online. After being forced to buy online as favorite non-essential stores closed, many of the current class of new online users are continuing to shop digitally. Signifyd’s data shows the number of new online shoppers increased by as much as 140% during the pandemic and that the growth has remained robust.

Emarketer attributed much of that growth to shoppers who are 45 years old or older and who never developed an ecommerce habit. The market research firm says in a June report that the number of online shoppers aged 45 and older will increase by 5.8% in 2020. Before the pandemic the firm was predicting a 3.2% increase in the cohort.

Mike Cassidy

Mike is lead storyteller at Signifyd. A former journalist and a retail geek, he covers ecommerce and the way technology is transforming digital commerce. Contact him at mike.cassidy@signifyd.com; follow him on Twitter at @mikecassidy.