eMarketer: Coronavirus Accelerates Digital Sales Shift

Retail sales this year will come up short of 2019 totals, but e-commerce sales will take a bigger than expected leap, according to research from eMarketer.

In its February 2020 forecast, eMarketer projected modest growth of 2.8% to $5.62 trillion in total retail sales across the U.S. for the current year. Then came the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing physical store closures, stay-at-home orders and restrained demand for nonessential goods.

Now, e-Marketer anticipates a 10.5% decline in total U.S. retail sales for 2020, with a 14% drop in brick-and-mortar sales. However, the market research firm expects an 18% digital sales advance, exceeding the 14.9% gain in 2019.