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With COVID-19 closing brick-and-mortar stores due to lockdown and social distancing measures, shopping sales are unsurprisingly down. Since we are stuck at home, we aren’t able to go shopping as much as we were before the pandemic. This has also led to people buying more things online. Ultimately, some companies have changed their strategy during this time and today everything from essentials to commodities can be bought from their websites. Has this paid off? Let's see the numbers.
As the United States’ Coronavirus continues to rise, retail sales have suffered immensely. The biggest one-month drop ever recorded was in March 2020, with sales dropping by 8.7% from February. It didn’t stop there.
Sales continued to crash in April, decreasing by another 16.4%. Since April 2019, retail sales have diminished by 21.6%. While these sales decrease, unemployment is skyrocketing. Retail will continue to suffer while the sales of online businesses are increasing.
For example, sales at electronic stores, gas stations, department stores, and sporting goods retailers, and furniture stores fell from 15% to 27%. Clothing and apparel are down by over half. Compared to last April, clothing is down 89%.
With grocery stores being essential, in March sales were up 27 percent. While the initial scare has subsided, grocery sales are not going anywhere. One of the socially acceptable things to do during this time is go shopping at a grocery store, people are making sure that they have what they need. Grocery sales will remain high and concerns that they will go down are fading.
It goes without saying that online purchases have gone up as people are stuck at home, but the numbers are striking. Buying online and picking up the item in-store increased 248% by the end of May. E-commerce is up about 40% for the first week of June. Sales were down 8% for the same week.
If we break it down into individual retail spheres, the numbers are greener than they've ever been:
While home goods are also increasing by 46%, one of the most striking sales is in weapons and ammunition. Weapons and accessories have had the largest spike. Online sales for 119 merchants went from going up 79% to 345%.
With so many businesses struggling, they are beginning to offer special sales to lure customers who are out of work and having financial struggles. If you are looking to make a purchase in stores including Bloomingdales to Nike to Nordstrom and others, it might be a good time.
However you look at it, retail sales will continue to struggle. At least 40 million people are out of work and the diminished sales are just beginning. People will continue to buy online more than in the brick-and-mortar stores, but overall sales will decrease. Only time will tell how this will all shake out, but it is clear that the retail industry will continue to suffer for a while.