Editor's note: A mad dash to the digital storefront

Online purchases during the 2020 holiday season grew 32.2% and totaled some $188.2 billion. What will the numbers look like this year?

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November is an unassuming month. It arrives every year with little fanfare, but it leaves in a hurry as people scatter to the marketplace to do their holiday shopping.

That marketplace now exists in large part on the internet. Online purchases during the 2020 holiday season grew 32.2%, according to reporting by CNBC , and totaled some $188.2 billion. It was a record, set in part by more people shopping online because of the coronavirus pandemic. The report referred to data from Adobe Analytics, which tracks the web transactions of 80 of the top 100 internet retailers in the U.S. According to those numbers, e-commerce sales during November 2020, which included Black Friday and Cyber Monday, reached for the first time $100 billion.

“In another first, online spending exceeded $1 billion daily during the 2020 holiday season and 50 days topped $2 billion, Adobe said,” reads the CNBC report.

Impressive numbers, indeed. It’ll be interesting to see what the numbers reach this year.

The decision to shop online or at local retailers is a conundrum for at least some people. Many shoppers still prefer to visit brick-and-mortar stores, and it’s important to support local businesses. And yet a pandemic with a new variant still rages, making it uncomfortable for others to visit the local shops, especially during peak shopping season when sales run amok and more people flock to the stores.


As such, it is likely that e-commerce numbers will show impressive tallies once again.

In fact, according to Trent Sorbe, founder and CEO of Central Payments in Sioux Falls, S.D., e-commerce will continue to trend in the foreseeable future. That’s good news for his business, which deals in money transactions, much of it digital.

Even in the stores, he said, people are not using cash as much as they used to. That might be nothing new, but the pandemic has elevated people’s concerns about using paper money, which gets passed from one person to another.

More people are buying gift cards and using payment applications such as Venmo, “and all those things have really accelerated the speed of digital payments,” Sorbe said.

He sees a time when even credit cards might go the way of the dodo bird, as more online billing and payment methods are utilized.

Read more about e-commerce trends in our story about Central Payments . And, no matter the shopping preference, Prairie Business wishes our readers and partners the very best this holiday season!

Andrew Weeks
Andrew Weeks

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