Fresh on the heels of our travel industry COVID update, let’s revisit some of the key retail categories we were closely following in 2020. Unlike the travel industry, which struggled across every category, many retail categories flourished as the pandemic took hold.
For example, government-issued stay at home orders accelerated a shift to online grocery and food delivery services. We also saw an influx of visitors to home & garden websites as some consumers worked on their ‘COVID gardens’ or updated their homes to support in-home employment and schooling.
Some categories did see downturns, such as the tickets & entertainment category, which is still a long way from pre-COVID levels. However, as we can see in the Retail category spending data below, categories like Food/Baby/Pet and Home/Garden/Appliances/Tools thrived in 2020 and continue to do well even through Q1 2021.
Overall, retail consumer spending online has grown year-over-year, despite challenges presented by the pandemic. This was largely driven by increased consumer adoption of online food and grocery ordering, as well as online shopping for home & garden items. Interestingly, while overall digital spending has grown, we have not seen as large of a shift towards spending on mobile devices over the same timeframe. In fact, the mobile share of total digital spend in Q1 2021 was only 4.3 percentage points higher than it was in Q1 2019, and roughly flat vs. Q1 2020. This may, in part, be the result of some consumers working from home and having easier access to their computers.
As with the travel industry, Comscore will continue to monitor trends across the retail industry and continually provide new data and analysis on the online spending landscape.