eCommerce vs. Brick and Mortar: Are the Tides Turning Online?

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Online shopping was trending upward before the recent COVID-19 pandemic. However, after a harrowing and challenging year, online shopping is having quite the success story. Brick and mortar stores were significantly affected by the pandemic thanks to lockdowns and quarantines. As a result, store owners were faced with significant challenges in keeping a building afloat without any income. The overhead costs alone were enough to see many stores and restaurants close without the hope of opening up again. While none of us want to put people out of a job or close a business, the fact is that the eCommerce vs. brick-and-mortar stores debate is growing.

eCommerce Advantages

There are many reasons why consumers choose eCommerce vs. brick-and-mortar stores. Learn how shopping online can have a positive impact when making a purchase.


Purchasing something with a few clicks is very convenient in our busy society. Not only can you search and find what you are looking for within a few seconds, but you also don’t have to worry about driving to multiple stores hoping they have it on the shelf. 

Time Saver

The ease of purchasing items online is a no-brainer for buying items that we would normally spend hours looking for in brick and mortar stores. With quick shipping timeframes and speedy delivery, many of us order something and are surprised when it arrives at our door quicker than expected. 

The time that online shopping saves when compared to driving to multiple stores, finding a parking spot, dealing with large crowds, and slow checkouts is part of what makes eCommerce so great. Many of us shop and purchase online while doing something else like lying in bed, using the bathroom, or working.

Better Selection

Online stores don’t need to worry about shelf space, given that they can pull items from multiple locations and warehouses. When you need a specific size or item, online stores usually have just what you need. You don’t have to dig through piles of clothes, hunt for that unique size, or drive to the other store location that might have what you are looking for when shopping online. Simply toggle down the size options and checkout. The lack of shelf space gives eCommerce stores the advantage when it comes to selection.

No Salespeople

While some of us enjoy striking up a conversation with a random stranger, many of us would rather shop in peace. Shopping online allows you to find what you need with the help of a search bar rather than a grumbling employee who may or may not know where to find your item. The lack of interaction with people is a big plus for introverted shoppers or those of us who don’t want to be bothered or pressured by pesky salespeople.


Internet fraud is still an issue for some consumers, but online shopping is generally safer than traveling to a brick-and-mortar store. Driving around town, parking, and beating traffic creates opportunities for fender benders or even significant accidents. Less interaction with people means fewer germs are spread, and you don’t need to worry about the suspicious-looking character at the end of the aisle. Safety is one significant advantage that many people overlook when comparing eCommerce vs. brick and mortar stores.

eCommerce vs. Brick and Mortar Statistics

Man holding smartphone

The appetite for eCommerce stores has continued to grow

While you may have your own opinion on the eCommerce vs. brick and mortar store debate, the statistics show a rising trend for shopping online.

eCommerce Sales Increased by 44% In 2020

Consumers did most of their shopping online during the pandemic, with a whopping $861.2 billion spent electronically. This jump in growth is the highest the industry has seen in many years.

$215 Billion Spent Online in First Quarter of 2021

Shoppers took online shopping yet again during the first quarter of 2021, which saw an increase in overall sales compared to the first quarter of 2020. Retail eCommerce sales totaled over $215 billion.

Brick and Mortar Sales Topped $3 Trillion in 2020

While in-store sales were still the majority of the US sales totaled at over $3 Trillion in 2020, eCommerce sales are taking a bite out of the overall gap. In-person sales also account for those items that many people still prefer to purchase in person, like vehicles, groceries, and furniture. 

1.6% Gain for Brick and Mortar Stores in 2021

After a significant loss during the 2020 pandemic, some estimate that brick and mortar stores will see a 1.6% gain in overall sales as stores begin to open back up. However, the slow opening-up process and culture shock that some consumers may have when being in a crowd may deter this figure. 


eCommerce Future Trends

While it is clear that brick-and-mortar stores are still the bedrock of overall sales in the USA, eCommerce is quickly trending up. It is estimated that 25% of all retail sales will be made online by 2024. This increase in purchases has allowed online retailers to step up their game in terms of volume, items, and delivery time.

Updates in technology and the recent pandemic made all of us aware of the importance of technology in our society. Without it, we wouldn’t purchase items that we needed while in lockdown and connect with those virtually to not spread germs. Ecommerce isn’t going anywhere and is trending up as more consumers purchase items online and more retailers build better and more responsive websites. 

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