FOR THE WEEK OF APR 27, 2020
Online shopping comes to the rescue at this time of staying home – something that may last
Are you or your family shopping more online now?
Post a quote from coverage of the pandemic's local or state impact.
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Online shopping has surged, naturally, as Americans sharply reduce or eliminate store visits for an obvious health safety reason. Target's digital sales more than doubled in March and are up 275% in April, the chain says. Amazon has added 175,000 workers since March to handle a deluge of orders and Walmart has hired 200,000. Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods delivery services, which have more orders than they can fill, started wait lists for new customers.
A first wave of e-commerce this spring focused largely on groceries, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, face masks, latex gloves and paper products. Toilet paper became the No. 1 item on Walmart's site, accounting for 3% of total sales in March – up from 1.3% normally. Hair clippers, hair dye kits, baby products and home office supplies also are popular. Now many online buyers shift to entertainment products such as books, jigsaw puzzles, card games, toys and other diversions as they adjust to life in quarantine. Web orders from local grocers and restaurants for curbside pickup or delivery also are swelling dramatically.
New shopping routines are likely to outlast the emergency, many experts predict. "I think online grocery shopping will persist," says the chief executive of Unilever, which owns over 400 food brands. At the National Association of Convenience Stores in Alexandria, Va., research vice president Lori Stillman says: "There are a lot of people trying and learning new behaviors, and not all of them are simply going to go back to the way it was."
Retail executive says: "Consumer behaviors continue to change dramatically, particularly as public health officials have told Americans to minimize their time in stores." -- Brian Cornell, chief executive officer of Target
Tech reporter says: "I've done some online shopping from stores in my neighborhood that I want to be there when this crisis is over." – Karen Weise, New York Times writer in Seattle
Business magazine says: "Amazon is the big winner and will benefit substantially from the collapse in retailing. The company's site has become the quick, go-to solution for customers to find essential goods." – Forbes, April 23
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