None of this is a shock. Of course we weren’t going to keep shopping online as if it were spring 2020. And it’s likely that online shopping today is a much bigger chunk of Americans’ spending that it would it have been if the pandemic never happened.
The open question is what happens now. Will we go back to the relatively slow-and-steady online shopping growth of 2019? Or will the hermitic habits learned in the pandemic’s early phase continue to influence our shopping, making this growth even faster? Or maybe, even slower?
This is all a major headache to anyone who sells stuff, but it matters to us, too. Amazon has said that it overestimated how enduring the online shopping mania would be and that it spent too much on new warehouses and other things. The company is pulling back, which affects people’s jobs and communities where Amazon is retreating.
And, I’m sorry to bring this up, but a golden age for online shoppers might be at risk. Hangovers from the pandemic and other changes have made it more difficult and expensive for companies that sell stuff online to buy, ship, store and advertise their products. If online shopping has a less rosy next couple of years, merchants large and small may rethink how much money they’re devoting to e-commerce features that we enjoy, like free shipping and order pickup in stores.
Understand Inflation and How It Impacts You
If you thought the past couple of years were uncertain in shopping and beyond, it might become even more so.