Consumers worldwide spent nearly $900,000,000,000 at online retailers in 2020 as Covid-19 forced consumers to stay at home and make online purchases. Roughly 20-30% of the Covid-related shift to digital globally is expected to be permanent, according to Mastercard’s Recovery Insights: Commerce E-volution.
Put another way: in 2020, e-commerce made up roughly $1 out of every $5 spent on retail, up from about $1 out of every $7 spent in 2019.
For retailers, restaurants and other businesses large and small, being able to sell online provided a much-needed lifeline as in-person consumer spending was disrupted.
“While consumers were stuck at home, their dollars traveled far and wide thanks to e-commerce,” says Bricklin Dwyer, Mastercard Chief Economist and Head of the Mastercard Economics Institute. “This has significant implications, with the countries and companies that have prioritised digital continuing to reap the benefits. Our analysis shows that even the smallest businesses see gains when they shift to digital.”
The report draws on anonymised and aggregated sales activity in the Mastercard network and proprietary analysis by the Mastercard Economics Institute. The analysis dives into what this means by country and by sector, for goods and services, and within countries and across borders.
With infinitely more choices at their fingertips, consumer spending on international e-commerce grew around 25-30% year over year from March 2020 through February 2021, it noted.