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The COVID-19 pandemic has altered and created a “new normal” in our world. More and more consumers have begun shopping online in frequent and sizable numbers. As a result, the pandemic has shifted digital shopping from physical stores by approximately 5 years new data shows.

A report by IBM‘s U.S. Retail Index indicates that department stores are likely to decline by over 60% for the remaining of the year. Meanwhile, e-commerce is expected to grow by an estimated 20% in 2020. The report suggests that department store retailers need to pivot to services like buy online, pick up in store and ship from store services to remain competitive in this new environment.

The on-going pandemic also refined which goods consumers think are essential. Categories like groceries, alcohol, health & personal care, and home improvement increased in sales. While clothing saw a big decline as more consumers began working and schooling from home.

The big question to answer is relatively how much of this pandemic-fueled online ordering is a temporary shift. The estimated answer at the very least is that COVID-19 accelerated the industry years ahead. The shift away from physical stores has been underway and there is plenty of precautions and measures that need to be taken for merchants.

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