U.S. e-commerce sales will jump 18% this year due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic that forced more shoppers online, according to a new forecast released today by eMarketer. However, the surge in new online orders won’t make up for the overall hit that the U.S. retail sector will take this year, the firm noted. The analysts estimate that total U.S. retail sales, which also includes auto and fuel, will drop by 10.5% in 2020 to $4.894 trillion — a level not seen since 2016.
This is also steeper than the 8.2% drop last seen in 2009, amid the recession.
“This is the sharpest consumer spending freeze in decades in the U.S.,” said eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Cindy Liu, in a report. ‘In just a couple weeks, as Americans sheltered in place, retail sales fell dramatically in March. With sales hitting their lowest point of the year in Q2, it will take years before consumer activity returns to normal levels,” she predicted.
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