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eCommerce Pulse Check: Health of Online Sales

In the past, we gave reasons as to why you should start an online business in a down economy and why right now is the time to put yourself in position to take advantage of the inevitable Revenge Spending phenomena. For this post we give concrete data backing up our previous blogs on why you should start an online business now, or, if you are already an online seller, why you need to put a plan in place for Revenge Spending.

Despite negative economic conditions, there has been significant uptick in eCommerce sales. This is to be expected as brick-and-mortar stores close down due to the novel coronavirus. However, the numbers have been surprisingly staggering in eComm’s favor as sales have not been strictly from essential products. This is particularly surprising since 22 million people have filed for unemployment in the United States and one would expect that non-essential products would be at the bottom of the list when it comes to the list of purchases. The increase in online purchases suggest a multitude of things, but, most importantly, that consumers have more hope in a recovery sooner than later. And while they are stuck at home, comfort during self-quarantine is of the utmost importance.

We’ve gathered data from our own surveys over the past couple of weeks as well as data from other sources. We are not suggesting that our current state will predict the future, but what we believe is that things will inevitably change and there will be a new norm.


eCommerce has been fairing much better than expected as consumers are turning to online shopping. There’s data supporting this. Since the first week of March, revenue is up ~96% for online sellers.


While we found a mixed bag of what categories are selling well and what categories are not, we found that 67% of sellers on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Shopify are either up or breaking even. Unsurprisingly, books, children’s clothing, and computer equipment are up, but items such as horse racing items are also surprisingly up. Custom printed t-shirt sales have expectedly decreased.


Here are some quotes from our respondents:

  • “I’ve spent a lot of time listing” – from a few respondents, alluding to increase of sales, thus, having to list new items or re-list previous items that have already sold

  • “I am up…up…up!” – Lee Rozinski, selling books on eBay

  • “I am down and have yet to have a sale since November” – Kaitlyn Franzen, selling home décor and baby category on Etsy (although, she has reported that she has made some sales since responding to our post)