The popularity of online shopping has reached another level during the pandemic.
This has had a different impact on various businesses in the Quad Cities.
Some businesses have seen their sales increase while others have had to close completely.
The data of the United States Census Bureau and Department of Commerce shows that e-commerce sales accounted for approximately 13% of all US retail sales in 2021.
This peaked at the start of the pandemic, when around 16% of US retail sales were online.
Some Quad Cities companies have higher numbers than that.
“Sales went up during that time because everyone was on their laptops, right?” said Savannah Levesque, co-owner of Saint-Boutique in the East Davenport Village. “Like, what else did we have to do but shop online?”
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce sales – or online shopping – have exploded.
“I don’t see it going away anytime soon,” Levesque said.
She adds that her business relied almost entirely on people buying from her website to stay afloat in 2020.
“Online sales have definitely picked up during the pandemic,” Lévesque said. “It was literally our only source of income because we couldn’t have customers coming here and shopping.
Even with mask mandates lifted and more people starting to shop in person again, e-commerce numbers have only dropped slightly nationally — and for local businesses.
“And he stayed pretty stable after that,” Levesque said. “I would definitely say, though, in terms of shopping in-store versus online, it’s probably 20% online and about 80% in-store.”
For many this is a good thing, but places like malls have suffered.
This is also the case in the Quad Cities.
Just this month South Park Shopping Center in Moline saw its Victoria’s Secret location close permanently, closing earlier in the month.
At the end of Saturday, after decades of operation, the mall’s popular Chick-fil-A will also close permanently.
“Everyone has a laptop or their iPhone handy at all times, and it’s so, so easy,” Levesque said.
Although online shopping has been a blessing for some small businesses, they still compete with e-commerce giants and hope not to be left in the dust.
“It’s tricky because we’re competing with this online business and companies like Amazon – where they have every product imaginable, right?” said Levesque. “But for a small business owner, we can’t necessarily carry all of these things.”
Ten years ago, in 2012, online sales accounted for just 5% of all retail sales in the United States.