Ecommerce sales rise 25% since beginning of March

The coronavirus spurs online grocery sales to increase 100% since the start of March. Plus, buy online pick up in store orders have increased 62% year over year, according to new data from Adobe Analytics.

Online sales in the U.S. have increased 25% on average for daily sales March 13-15 compared with average daily sales March 1-11, according to Adobe Analytics. The growth is largely due to a boost in online grocery sales, which have increased 100% in daily online sales March 13-15 compared with average daily sales March 1-11.

Adobe Analytics data is based on online sales data from trillions of anonymous visits to retail sites and tens of millions of product SKUs from 80 of the top 100 retailers in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000. Data is based on 18 product categories including apparel, electronics, home, grocery, appliance, personal care, office supplies, books, jewelry, furniture and toys, among others.

Not only are online sales growing, but so are pickup orders, Adobe Analytics finds. The number of orders shoppers have bought online and picked up in store has also increased 62% year over year during Feb. 24-March 24.

The reason why online sales are up so much is clear—the coronavirus pandemic has many U.S. consumers at home and shopping at home.

“U.S. consumers are turning to ecommerce more during the COVID-19 outbreak due to the fact that social distancing measures and shelter-in-place orders have made online shopping more convenient or in some cases, the only way to get the goods they need,” says Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights.

While consumers have been shifting their purchasing more to online from stores over the past few years, the pandemic has accelerated this shift, Schreiner says.

Adobe Analytics did not provide comparable year-over-year online sales. But for the first quarter of 2019, online sales increased 11.9% year over year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The elevated levels of online shopping in the U.S. will likely continue as long as shelter-in-place orders remain in effect, Schreiner says.

“The big unknown is whether consumers who become used to more online shopping will stick with it, even when social distancing measures are removed,” Schreiner says.

Besides grocery, Adobe Analytics also found order spikes in the following product categories on March 11 compared with average daily sales in January:

  • 807% increase in sales for virus protection products, such as hand sanitizer, gloves, masks and anti-bacterial sprays

  • 231% increase in toilet paper sales

  • 217% increase in over-the-counter drugs, such as cold and flu medicine and pain relievers

  • 87% increase in non-perishable, canned and shelf-stable foods

This data dovetails with data from marketing platform Emarsys and analytics platform GoodData. As of March 30, ecommerce sales from pure-play ecommerce retailers are up 34% year over year in the U.S. and Canada, and the number of orders has increased 52% year over year, according to the data, which is based on more than 1 billion consumers and more than 400 million orders from 2,500 businesses in 120 countries. For retailers that are mostly store-based, online sales have increased 14% year over year and the number of orders increased 32% year over year.

Plus, as more gyms and fitness centers close to the public, shoppers have increased their spending for at-home fitness equipment. Online orders for products, such as kettlebells, dumbbells and treadmills have increased 55% March 11-15 compared with March 1-10, according to Adobe Analytics.

However, not all non-essential categories have had increased online sales boosts. Average daily sales for apparel have decreased 13% March 12-25 compared with average daily sales Feb. 1-March 10. Adobe Analytics notes that many large apparel retailers have run promotions, which helped the category and kept spending flat for those retailers.

Shoppers may have decreased their spending because of economic concerns, according to data from financial services publisher Bankrate LLC. 52% of U.S. consumers say they cut spending because of concerns about the economy or the stock market, according to a March 20-24 survey of 2,468 consumers.

Adobe Analytics also finds that some states have larger online sales increase than others. Online sales from shoppers in New York, California, Ohio, Oregon and Washington have increased 20% or more for average daily sales March 13-15 compared with average daily sales Feb. 1-March 10. These states had the largest jump in ecommerce sales likely because they had early outbreaks of COVID-19 and shelter-in-place orders began earlier there than other states, Schreiner says.

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