retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Provocative piece from Bloomberg that starts out this way:

"Did the pandemic forever change how we shop?

"The answer seemed obvious in the first half of 2020, when retailers closed their doors to slow the spread of Covid-19, pushing millions to the internet. It looked like a fundamental shift in e-commerce’s trajectory. The thinking was simple: After experiencing the ease of online shopping, why would consumers return to stores?

"Turns out they have. In the US, the e-commerce wave has receded. In some categories, such as clothing, the percentage of sales made online is back to where it was before the pandemic, according to an analysis by UBS. For the past five quarters, online growth has trailed the sales gains of the overall retail industry, according to US Census Bureau data."

“Everyone’s thesis was that we moved five years in the future,” Ed Yruma, a retail analyst for Piper Sandler, tells Bloomberg.  “What’s been really interesting is, that’s been wrong.”

You can read the entire story here.

KC's View:

Again, I think it is important to evaluate the state of e-commerce within the context of cultural and economic pressures.

But I also think it is a mistake to underestimate the generational influences that will impact e-commerce over the long run, meaning the number of people who will become the center of the shopping target who do not remember a pre-Amazon world.  They have different expectations and priorities, and will simply desire a different shopping experience that focuses on their needs, not the store's operational imperatives.