The Strategist

Spending on online purchases grows by $900B during the pandemic

04/07/2021 - 05:00

In the pandemic year 2020, shoppers around the world spent $900 billion more online than in the previous two years, Mastercard analysts said.

Shoppers around the world spent $900 billion more on online purchases during the pandemic than the average of the previous two years. That's according to a Mastercard Economics Institute study based on a comparison of the number of online sales made in 2020 on Mastercard's payment system with the overall trend for 2019 and 2020.

According to the study, online sales accounted for 20% of all money spent on goods and services last year. By comparison, the figure was just over 14% in 2019.

Mastercard analysts predict that the shift from traditional to online shopping will continue in many countries in the future. The extent of the transformation within each country will depend on how prevalent e-commerce was before the crisis. In the US, for example, the share of online purchases before COVID-19 was 11%, reached 22% at the peak of the pandemic, and will remain at 17% afterwards, according to researchers. 

The researchers also estimated the development of online shopping in 2020. During the pandemic, they found that shoppers around the world visited 30% more online shops.