Covid-19 Dramatically Accelerates E-Commerce Penetration

Covid-19 Dramatically Accelerates E-Commerce Penetration

June 4, 2020

Morgan Stanley expects Covid-19 to accelerate e-commerce penetration in the U.S. by at least two years.

In a note published Monday, the firm estimated e-commerce would account for over 23 percent of U.S. retail this year, up more than five percentage points from the previous year.

Morgan Stanley pointed to the coronavirus as the primary factor because it has pushed more consumers to make online purchases and to back off from physical store and restaurant experiences.

"Stepping back, we think 2020 will be a year in which we pulled forward about two years of e-commerce penetration," the note said.

"we think 2020 will be a year in which we pulled forward about two years of e-commerce penetration"

While e-commerce comprised only 12 percent of the $170 billion in available dollars from lost retail sales during the month of April, it grew overall by 57 percent year over year, according to Morgan Stanley estimates.

The acceleration of online buying is likely to have lasting impacts, according to the note, which forecasts slower growth in 2021, but with total sales still 10 percent higher than previously modeled.

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Joan Goodchild

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