US Consumers Spent $1.7 Trillion on eCommerce During the Pandemic

Danica Jovic Image
ByDanica Jovic
March 24,2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the way people shop. For two years, eCommerce sales in the US have been flourishing, as people stayed home to avoid crowded areas, particularly retail stores.

In fact, US consumers spent $1.7 trillion from March 2020 to February 2022 on eCommerce purchases. This is a massive increase in online spending compared to the pre-pandemic period. If we look at the total amount spent on online purchases from March 2018 through February 2020, we will see a difference of $609 billion. In 2021, there was $885 billion in online spending - an 8.9% increase year-over-year.

Out of the $1.7 trillion, $32 billion was tied to inflation, meaning that customers paid $32 billion more for the same amount of goods. COVID-related supply chain disruptions initially drove this rise in costs, but general inflation has since come into full swing, most recently due to oil and gas shortages.

In 2021, 41.8% of overall eCommerce spending can be attributed to groceries, electronics, and apparel. Consumers currently spend an average of $6.7 billion on groceries monthly, and this category is expected to surpass $85 billion per year in 2022.

Electronics are the largest eCommerce category, and in 2021 they accounted for $165 billion in online spending. This category might exceed $174 billion in 2022.

Online apparel purchases are another category that has seen a significant increase since the pandemic started. Spending on it went from $115.8 billion in 2020 to $126.2 billion in 2021, marking an 8% year-over-year increase. It’s expected to continue this course and top $130 billion by the end of the year.

The pandemic has forced most businesses to rapidly adapt their strategies to stay afloat. For many companies, this meant investing more heavily in eCommerce and digital marketing, and this shift is likely to have a lasting impact even after the pandemic comes to an end.

As a result, many of the new eCommerce platforms which have popped up to meet the pandemic demand are probably here to stay, just like remote work.

About the author

Danica’s greatest passion is writing. From small businesses, tech, and digital marketing, to academic folklore analysis, movie reviews, and anthropology — she’s done it all. A literature major with a passion for business, software, and fun new gadgets, she has turned her writing craft into a profitable blogging business. When she’s not writing for SmallBizGenius, Danica enjoys hiking, trying to perfect her burger-making skills, and dreaming about vacations in Greece.

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