US Ecommerce by Category 2020

How the Pandemic Is Reshaping the Product Category Landscape

Executive Summary

The coronavirus pandemic has been the most disruptive event to the retail sector in decades. Supply chain interruptions, huge swings in consumer demand, and shifts in retail channel preferences have dramatically altered the complexion of commerce in 2020.

How will the coronavirus pandemic affect total US retail sales?

We forecast that total US retail spending will decline 10.5% to $4.894 trillion. US ecommerce sales will surge 18.0% to $709.78 billion, while brick-and-mortar retail sales will experience a historically significant decline of 14.0% to $4.184 trillion.

What share will ecommerce command of total US retail sales?

We expect that ecommerce will reach an all-time high of 14.5% of total retail sales in 2020. If gasoline and auto sales are stripped from the “total retail” denominator, ecommerce’s share will jump to 20.1%.

Which ecommerce product categories are growing the fastest?

Household essentials will set the pace for ecommerce growth in 2020, with food and beverage sales poised for a 58.5% surge, while health, personal care and beauty sales will jump 32.4%.

How is Amazon faring across ecommerce product categories?

Amazon will account for 38.0% of US ecommerce sales this year. Its largest category will be computers/consumer electronics (26.2% of Amazon's US sales). Its highest penetration category will be books, music and videos (78.8% of US ecommerce sales), and its fastest-growing category will be food and beverage (61.8%).

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report is a follow-up to our US ecommerce sales forecast, focusing on how the coronavirus pandemic will impact retail ecommerce sales at the product category level.

KEY STAT: Books/music/video will be the most penetrated category for ecommerce this year at 62.7%, the first retail category to become an ecommerce majority.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. The State of US Retail Ecommerce Sales
  3. Amazon’s Ecommerce Category Penetration
  1. Ecommerce Categories in the Spotlight
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery

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Andrew Lipsman


Bianca Carasus
Cindy Liu
Senior Forecasting Analyst
Nicole Perrin
Principal Analyst
Amy Rotondo
Research Manager, US
Vincent Yip
Forecasting Analyst

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