Steve Dennis wrote an April 19, 2022 Forbes article titled The Myth Of The Great E-Commerce Acceleration.

« On average, e-commerce penetration is only slightly ahead of where we would expect it to be had the pandemic not happened.  »

« My fellow Forbes contributor Jason Goldberg calculated that “non-store” sales (a decent proxy for “e-commerce”) were up about 35% when compared to two years ago when the Covid crisis first hit. That’s significant growth to be sure. But when you consider that e-commerce’s compound annual growth rate has been around 15% over the past decade, that’s not even one year of acceleration. »

« Online shopping’s importance (and future growth potential) is often radically different by product category. For example, eMarketer estimates put online’s share of total grocery spending at around 5%, apparel and accessories at nearly 40% and books, music and videos at nearly 70%. »

« What we commonly call “e-commerce” (and what gets reported as online shopping revenue) merely reflects how the order is placed. It doesn’t tell us anything directly about how demand was generated, how the order was fulfilled, and which assets and capabilities are essential to creating competitive advantage.   »

« While plenty of physical retail is becoming irrelevant—I’m looking at you JC Penney—a whole lot is actually becoming ever more relevant and important. One of the best examples is Target, which rings up about 20% of its sales online, but fulfills some 95% from its brick-and-mortar locations. »

« Target doubled down on its stores, seeing them as the hub of a well harmonized customer experience. Despite the e-commerce surge, Target doubled down again earlier this year, announcing even more investment in stores and related technology to support its leading edge omni-channel capabilities. »

Steve Dennis is author of Remarkable Retail: How to Win and Keep Customers in the Age of Disruption Hardcover (2021).

See also an April 16, 2022 Wall Street Journal article titled The Pandemic Was Supposed to Push All Shopping Online. It Didn’t: E-commerce retailers that rode a surge of online purchases in 2020 are now grappling with the fact that some customers have returned to stores.



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