Did you think online sales might drop after the pandemic? You’d be wrong, says global consultant

WASHINGTON—The pandemic has given online sales a big boost out of necessity, but shoppers aren’t going back to their old ways now that stores are back, according to FTI’s 2022 U.S. online retail forecast. Consulting, a global business consulting firm.

In fact, online retail sales are expected to top $1 trillion later this year, well ahead of the original timeline to reach that milestone.

Reaching the milestone this year puts it more than two years ahead of FTI’s pre-pandemic forecast, which had U.S. online retail sales hitting $1 trillion in 2025.

Although e-commerce sales growth will not maintain its quarterly year-over-year growth rates of 45% to 53% in 2020 and early 2021, FTI forecasts for 2022 predict online sales an additional $256 billion above its model pre-pandemic forecast, representing a 31% improvement. It is also expected that online sales growth and market share will now match pre-pandemic rates.

Calling the conditions caused by the pandemic “the best thing that has happened in decades for large omnichannel and online retailers“, the FTI report highlights that retailers have reaped a bonanza of online purchases due to four factors. keys: stay-at-home orders that drove people to shop from home; an excess supply of free time and personal savings caused by working from home situations; a shift in consumer spending towards goods and away from services; and nearly $1 trillion in financial stimulus.

And even as shoppers return to physical stores, JD Wichser, head of retail and consumer product practices at FTI Consulting, said, “There is pervasive evidence that the impact of COVID-19 on online shopping will be sustainable. However, the meteoric growth of online retail during COVID-19 is certain to moderate… exacerbated by recent inflationary pressures, which are expected to slow total retail spending in the second half of 2022.”

In support of its updated timeline for reaching the $1 trillion online sales milestone, the report states: “The new shopping habits acquired during the pandemic persist for the most part despite the recent resumption of online shopping. store from dismal 2020 levels.”

As consumers re-engage with stores, FTI posits the practice may be short-lived, particularly with the recent rise in fuel prices, coupled with shoppers soon remembering “how much the experience (d shopping) had become boring in pre-COVID times.”

FTI expects the online channel’s share of US retail sales (excluding auto and gas) to reach 22.1% in 2022, up from 20.8% in 2021 and 15.2% in 2019 Furthermore, this $1 trillion figure will likely double to $2 trillion by 2030, as the total online market share approaches 31%.

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