Mastercard CEO: Pandemic Spiked E-commerce 20% in 2020

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.

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.”

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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.”

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