American's Embrace of Digital Commerce Amid COVID Likely Permanent

New York, NY, November 16, 2020-The pandemic’s disruptions have transformed how American consumers behave by accelerating their embrace of digital commerce, and the changes are likely to prove permanent, reports the Wall Street Journal.

“A recent survey by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. found that about three out of four people have tried a new shopping method due to the coronavirus and that more than half of all consumers intend to continue using curbside pickup and grocery-delivery services after the pandemic is over. Nearly 70% of consumers surveyed intend to continue buying online for store pickup.

“The pandemic collapsed into three months a process of adopting e-commerce that otherwise would have taken 10 years in the U.S., the firm concluded.

“The lockdowns, social distancing and other effects of the crisis forced many consumers to try online shopping, medical appointments, yoga classes and tutoring services. And people new to the e-commerce game are ‘finding out it’s pretty useful,’ said Brian Ruwadi, a senior partner at McKinsey.

“This spurred businesses to step up their digital services. ‘You see significant movement on both sides, and that has to result in a significant increase, a fundamental shift in acceleration,’ he said of the changes in business and consumer behavior.

“‘Consumers won’t go back to shopping the way they did before the pandemic,’ said Stefan Larsson, the president of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger parent PVH Corp. ‘They will go forward into the new normal.’

“Mr. Larsson, who takes over as CEO early next year, said that means a continued push into e-commerce. As a result, PVH is speeding up digital investments, including building new data systems and warehouses, he said.

“The rapid transition has positioned some businesses to thrive and grow, while others struggle or fail, reflecting the broader economy’s K-shaped recovery. Among the winners are those facilitating the shifts, including online retailers and service providers, technology firms and companies delivering the goods people are buying online. Peloton Interactive Inc. said its revenue more than tripled to $757.9 million in the September quarter. The company is capitalizing on surging demand for at-home fitness equipment, much of it internet-connected like its exercise bikes.

“Faltering businesses include those unable to make the transition, such as many restaurants and bricks-and-mortar stores. Retail-store closings in the U.S. reached a record in the first half of 2020, and the year is on pace for record bankruptcies and liquidations, according to a report on the downturn’s severity.”