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U.S. e-commerce to grow 18% in 2020, according to eMarketer

Online sales growth is set for another big gain this year, boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic. And expect Walmart’s digital surge also to continue.

That’s according to a new report by eMarketer, “US Ecommerce 2020,” which forecasts a 10.5% decline in total U.S. retail sales this year, with a 14.0% drop in brick-and-mortar sales. E-commerce is poised to grow 18.0% (following a 14.9% gain in 2019), which reflects a notable increase in both the number of digital buyers and the average spending per buyer.

“These gains reflect the pandemic's impact on new buyers joining the online retail space, including 12.2% growth for those ages 65 and older,” the report stated. 

Amid the pandemic economy, consumers have gravitated toward trusted and reliable retailers, the report noted. As a result, it expects the top 10 e-commerce retail businesses to grow at above-average rates (21.8%). Amazon will gain U.S. e-commerce market share this year, while Walmart's accelerating e-commerce growth will take it to the No. 2 position for the first time. 

Here are other takeaways from the eMarketer report. 

•    Online sales have been driven by a surge in click-and-collect, specifically curbside pickup. E-marketer now expects U.S. click-and-collect e-commerce sales to grow to $58.52 billion, up 60.4% from its initial forecast of 38.6% growth.

•    Some of the extreme channel-shifting that has been occurring will subside over the course of the year as stores reopen and lockdowns end countrywide. 

“However, certain behaviors like click-and-collect and curbside pickup will persist and suggest a long-term trajectory of e-commerce growth,” the report noted.

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