Covid Impact on Retail and E-commerce

The retail industry was able to attain 93% of the pre-Covid sales in Feb 2021 as per the Retailers Association of India

The novel coronavirus has imposed a significant cost on the global economy and has brought many unforeseen challenges for businesses. While many industries are severely impacted by the Covid-19 recession, the retail industry is uniquely placed as it offers a wide range of products from daily necessities to premium luxury products. In 2020 U.S. retail sales grew at 0.31% from $6.19 trillion in 2019 to $6.20 trillion as per estimates made by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Covid-19 driven mass anxiety elicited panic buying and hoarding of daily necessities as consumers lined up outside supermarkets & retail outlets. This sudden surge of demand created further uncertainties in the demand and supply chains in the retail industry. In the last week of March 2020, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan and some other states went into their first lockdown. In the last week of March 2020, California, Michigan Connecticut, Illinois and some other states went into their first lockdown which impeded sales generation. As a result, in April 2020 retail sales dropped to $409.82 billion, a decline of nearly 22% from the pre-pandemic estimates of $526.93 billion for Jan 2020.

With the opening of lockdowns and easing of restrictions, retail sales started to show signs of recovery in May 2020 and reached $526.86 billion in June 2020. During Jun-Oct 2020, retail sales continued to grow gradually but from October onwards as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) started to report a rise in new cases which was followed by the second lockdown in New York in December, retail sales were hit and fell for 2 consecutive months.


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