E‑Commerce Industry Sales Projected to Grow to 14.5% of Sector in 2020

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The ability to sell online has never been more important. The latest reports show that the e‑commerce industry's sales are projected to grow to 14.5% of all retail sales this year. If your clients have not perfected their online advertising pitches, now is the time to help them show their stuff.

Dramatic Shift to Online Retail

When stay-​at-​home orders were issued by the government in order to slow the spread of the COVID-​19 virus earlier this year, consumers began shopping online in a big way. eMarketer data shows that the e‑commerce industry's sales grew 31.8% between Q1 and Q2 this year. Analysts don’t expect consumers to return to their previous levels of in-​store shopping. After a slight projected dip in 2021, to 14.4%, the march of e‑commerce will continue, reaching a projected 18.1% of total retail sales. Nearly one out of every five dollars will be spent online.

Impact on SMBs

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey is based on companies with fewer than 500 employees. Overall, 32.7% of the surveyed businesses report that the COVID-​19 outbreak has had a large negative effect on them. Another 43.8% claim they are experiencing a moderate negative effect. By industry vertical, the percentage of businesses reporting a negative impact, through August, include:

  • Educational services 65%
  • Arts, Entertainment and Recreation services 61.4%
  • Accommodation and Food services 68.2%

In our State of Media Sales survey, conducted earlier this year, media sales reps correctly predicted that these same business categories would experience the most significant disruption during the mandatory shutdown. This situation points to a big need to take immediate action.

E‑Commerce Industry Sales Projected to Grow

As the state of uncertainty continues, your clients, especially if they operate in the most heavily impacted categories, must pivot into other lines of business in order to survive. Some of these businesses may be able to offer entertainment and education services online. Shifting to online food sales and delivery may help restaurants stay in business. Increasingly, accommodations providers can target new groups who are looking for safe place to stay when they're on the road. This includes remote workers, first- responders, and consumers who are still not comfortable flying

With e‑commerce industry sales projected to grow dramatically, businesses in this sector must work hard to increase their market share. They’ll do best buy building an omnichannel market presence. In addition, they can build their reputation as local vendors, a concept that will appeal to shoppers now and in the future.

To compete against large businesses, your clients should also tout their unique products. When they sell products that are not carried by the likes of Amazon, and make the buying process easy, consumers will notice.

You can help your clients increase sales by fine-​tuning their digital advertising. Start by running a Digital Audit, found on AdMall by SalesFuel. With that data, you can show your clients how they stack up against the competition and you can help them develop a solid digital marketing plan for 2021.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.