January 12, 2021
E-commerce isn’t new. Shopping online has been in vogue with the arrival of Amazon and free second-day shipping. But with a pandemic leading consumers to question crowded malls and in-store transactions, the e-commerce alternative with curbside pickup helped spike online revenue 20% in 2020 from 2019, according to Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach.
Pre-pandemic industry estimates had pegged e-commerce to grow by about 16.5%. Mastercard said that from Oct. 11 through Dec. 24 online sales grew 49% compared with 2019.
Speaking Jan. 12 on the virtual CES 2021, Miebach said he doubted consumer in-store retail patterns would return to pre-pandemic trends even with a vaccine.
“Years of digital acceleration have been kind of compressed into months,” Miebach said. “That’s a seismic shift.”
The executive said that going forward consumers would likely continue purchasing online due to the steps taken by retailers and Amazon, among others, to make purchasing as easy as a few clicks — with free shipping. Miebach said consumers would return to stores for product advice before making a purchase.
“If you want to go to a shop and you’re going to talk, you get great advice from the guy that you know in your — in your local town,” he said. “But repeatable purchases where you don’t really have any advantage by being in a shop, why wouldn’t you do what you just started to learn throughout the crisis? So about two-thirds will retain. That’s our view.”