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US Online Purchases Soar by 50% Quarter-over-Quarter to $218 Billion in Q3 2020

Nica San Juan
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Online retail sales in the US are gradually returning to pre-pandemic levels. Based on a report published by Digital Commerce 360, online shoppers in the US spent $218.1 billion on retail purchases during Q3 2020. In Q2 2020, US eCommerce sales totaled $211.5 billion.

According to the research data analyzed and published by Stock Apps, there was an increase of 50% year-over-year (YoY) in Q3 2020 compared to a similar period in 2019. Based on the data from the US Commerce Department, total retail purchases in Q3 2019 amounted to $145.5 billion.

During Q2 2020, an eMarketer study projected that US retail sales would drop by 10.5% in 2020. This would be a steeper drop than the 8.2% decline seen in 2009.  However, the same report projected a gain of 18.0% for the eCommerce market. That would see it soar to $709.78 billion, accounting for 14.5% of total US retail sales.

Comparatively, US eCommerce sales in 2019 totaled $601.65 billion and accounted for 11.0% of the total retail sales worldwide. The growth rate at the time was 14.9%.


Costco eCommerce Sales Soar by 91%, Best Buy by 242%, Target by 195%

With the growth in US eCommerce sales, there has been a considerable surge in the revenue of top online retailers. Amazon reported an increase of 39.3% in revenue from North America during Q3 2020.

However, as a result of the sharp growth of other eCommerce retailers, Amazon’s share of online retail revenue dropped slightly during the period. According to Digital Commerce 360, it went from 23.6% in Q2 to 23.1% in Q3 2020.

The eCommerce giant’s share of online retail revenue spiked to 26% during Q1, at the height of the pandemic, from 24.2% in Q4 2019. Notably, the decline experienced from Q1 to Q2 2020 was the largest experienced in the previous three years.

Even though there are plenty more consumers shopping online, not all are going to Amazon. To illustrate, Costco reported a 90.6% spike in eCommerce sales during its fiscal fourth quarter which ended on August 31, 2020.

For the entire fiscal year 2020, Costco had a 49.6% increase in online sales. Comparatively, it had posted a 7.9% growth in fiscal 2019 and in fiscal 2018, 9.7%. Overall, the online retailer saw more robust growth in 2020 than it had in its previous five years.

Similarly, for Best Buy Co., there was a 242% increase in online sales during its fiscal Q2 2020, which on ended August 1, 2020. Domestic online revenue for the quarter totaled $4.85 billion, a new company record. The new record surpassed the previous one by almost 40%.

During the quarter, its domestic online revenue took up 53% of total domestic revenue, up from 16% YoY. In the last seven weeks of the quarter, there was a 180% rise in eCommerce revenue.

The trend carried into its fiscal Q3 FY20, as the first three weeks saw a 175% increase in online sales. Overall, in the first six months of its fiscal year, online sales have increased by 200%.

For Target, whose fiscal Q2 2020 ended on August 1, online sales grew by 195% YoY during the period. At the time, its YTD online sales totaled almost $7 billion, eclipsing full-year sales for fiscal 2019.

Walmart Inc. reported an increase of 97.0% in online sales during Q2 FY21, which ended on July 31, 2020.


China’s Retail Trade Grows by 0.9% in Q3, First Positive Growth in 2020

Just like in the US, the Chinese retail market showed considerable improvement in Q3 2020. There was a 0.9% increase in overall retail trade, the sector’s first positive growth in 2020.

In September, there was an increase of 3.3% in total retail sales, up from 1.5% in August, marking two consecutive months of positive growth.

However, for the first nine months of 2020, total retail sales were still down by 7.2% YoY. Compared to H1 2020 though, the overall decline narrows by 4.2 percentage points.

It is noteworthy too that China’s online retail sales grew by 9.7% during the same nine-month period. Moreover, online retail sales of physical goods increased by 15.3% and accounted for 24.3% of all retail sales.

Top eCommerce retailer, Alibaba, saw strong growth during Q3 2020, growing its annual active customer base by 15 million, to reach 757 million.

Its cross-border import eCommerce platform, Tmall Global, had an increase of 21% in the sales of online physical goods in that quarter. Taobao Live, Alibaba’s live streaming platform, generated Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) surpassing 350 billion RMB ($52.83B) for the 12-month period which ended on September 30, 2020.

Overall, Alibaba’s revenue during the quarter rose by 30% YoY to $22.84 billion.

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Nica San Juan

Nica San Juan

Nica is a BA Political Science graduate, startup founder and financial expert. She has an entrepreneurial spirit and started several startups from a young age, eventually becoming fascinated with stocks, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain economy. She specializes in financial tech and her expertise is in writing detailed tutorials and guides on how to invest in stocks and cryptocurrencies. Nica has written for many other websites, including Crypto Browser, Coin Review, LearnBonds, and Inside Bitcoins.