In the Wake of COVID-19, Are Online Sales Overtaking Brick and Mortar Sales?

COVID-19 (coronavirus) has had an impact on every corner of the world, upending people’s lives and forcing people to adapt to a challenging new world. With brick and mortar stores having to shutter, for the time being, people are turning to the internet for products and services they would have traditionally purchased in a physical store. This has led many people to wonder whether or not this is the boost the online sales need to finally overtake brick and mortar revenue numbers, particularly when it comes to digital products JV. While digital products were already popular items online, this pandemic might be what they need to finally be taken over the top.

In most states, COVID-19 has forced all non-essential businesses to close. Some of the few stores that remain open include healthcare institutions, government entities, and grocery stores. Even restaurants, while they sell food, have had to convert to take-out only establishments. There are even horror stories of people having to get haircuts at home. This has led to a massive boost in online sales, as internet providers all over the world are reporting massive upticks in their usage rates. With some grocery stores starting to make rumbles about their own workers being placed at risk, some are advocating for grocery stores to convert to take-out only as well. In this format, people might have to order their groceries online and then pick them up at the store.

This push only comes on the heels of rapidly growing online sales. Ever since the internet first came into existence, people started trying to sell products and services online. The convenience of this method was hard to ignore. People could purchase products they needed from their own homes. Then, these items could be delivered straight to them.

It didn’t take long for this to catch on. According to one news sources, consumers spent more than $600 billion in online sales in 2019 alone. This was up close to 15 percent from 2018, when spending was just under $525 billion in total revenue online. This was also a higher growth rate than 2017 to 2018. This simply shows that online sales are growing in popularity. This growth in penetration was the biggest annual jump since 2000, which was the first year that statistics were kept on such numbers.

These numbers simply serve to highlight the point that online sales are not only growing but accelerating. This means that the rate at which they are growing is picking up speed. Therefore, it is only a matter of time before online sales catch and overtake brick and mortar sales. This includes not only digital products but other goods and services as well. Perhaps this is why there has been such a massive push from companies to increase their online footprint with innovative digital marketing tactics. It will be interesting to see what happens to online sales once this pandemic is in the past.


Alex is a small business blogger with a focus on entrepreneurship and growth. With over 5 years of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Alex has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, approachable and entrepreneurial-minded blogger. He has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners, and is able to provide actionable advice and strategies for success. Alex has interviewed successful entrepreneurs, and covered major small business events such as the Small Business Expo and the Inc. 500|5000 conference. He is also a successful entrepreneur himself, having started and grown several small businesses in different industries.