The Current, delivered daily.
Ecommerce is powering US retail growth.
Despite supply chain challenges, inflation and dips in top retailers' ecommerce sales as shoppers head back out to stores, the data and market research provider’s 2022 United States Retail Landscape and Go-to-Market Planning Report concludes that ecommerce will be the primary force in retail over the next several years.
“Inflationary pressures continue to cut into retailer margins, both in the US and abroad, while rising labor rates, increased material costs and higher fuel prices across all supply chains impact suppliers, retailers and consumers,” said Deren Baker, CEO, Edge by Ascential, in a statement. “Despite these challenges, data from Edge by Ascential shows that ecommerce will continue to be the largest driver of retail growth over the next few years in the US and worldwide.”
With this, the report makes a few projections:
- Ecommerce will reach $1 trillion GMV in the US in 2022, up from $907.7 billion in 2021.
- Amazon will overtake Walmart as the leading US retailer by 2024
- Ecommerce will account for 30.5% of total retail sales by 2026, up from 24.6% in 2021.
Amazon keeps rising
When it comes to Amazon, the report projects that the ecommerce giant will add $294 billion in US sales between 2021 and 2026. By 2026, Edge by Ascential forecasts that Amazon will have 14.9% of US retail market share on its own.
“Amazon has always taken advantage of its head start as a digital-first platform and has been a pioneer of almost all the growth levers associated with platform-based retail from ‘subscribe and save’ through Prime membership to the evolving media and marketing services Amazon offers to brands,” Baker said. “Therefore, it’s not a huge surprise that by gross merchandise value (GMV) sales, our AI-powered forecasting software on Edge Retail Insight anticipates Amazon to overtake Walmart as the largest retailer in the US by 2024.”
With Amazon’s rise, the report projects that Walmart’s share of retail will be 12.7% by 2026, down from 13.1% in 2021. To be sure, Walmart will be working to change that dynamic. The company is making a big digital push and building out a fulfillment network that works together with its stores. Per the report, the other top retailers will be Costco (4.4% by 2026) and The Home Depot (3.9% share by 2026).
Grocery is gaining
The report also hones in on a growing area of ecommerce: Grocery. Online shopping initially keyed in on items that could be boxed up and shipped, but the rise of quick commerce services like Instacart and the adoption of curbside pickup and express delivery by major grocers in the pandemic has made online food shopping a a more viable option.
That's playing out in Edge by Ascential's numbers: In 2021, online edible grocery sales in the US – which refers to ambient, chilled, fresh and frozen food, soft drinks and alcohol – reached $54.8 billion, up 117% on 2019. About 50% of this category was attributed to Walmart, Target, Kroger and Costco, as the larger retailers picked up ecommerce operations in the pandemic.
By 2026, Edge by Ascential forecasts online grocery to make up 8.8% of all ecommerce sales.
While these are projections, they collectively point to an important trend: The growth and influence that ecommerce gained in the pandemic will be with us going forward. Sales data and stock prices may tick up or down, but the ecommerce infrastructure that retailers introduced, advances in customer experience, and, most of all, the consumer comfort with shopping digitally – even if it means toggling between online and offline experiences – will still be there.
Trending in Retail Channels
Applications are open for startups interested in the 12-week Store Nº8 dCommerce Base Camp.
Walmart incubation arm Store Nº8 and Web3 accelerator Outlier Ventures are teaming up to support retail startups.
The organizations opened applications this week for the Store Nº8 dCommerce Base Camp accelerator. The virtual program will offer education, funding and mentorship to startups building solutions in Web3 that are designed for the retail and commerce experience.
Focus areas for selected startups will include decentralized infrastructure, data and growth solutions, immersive experiences and the metaverse and the intersection of AI and blockchain technology.
“We think dCommerce represents a huge opportunity to unbundle ecommerce into its constituent parts, and into a more decentralized and composable stack of protocols to create a more efficient, equitable and improved experience for retailers and consumers from CRM to last-mile delivery," said Outlier Ventures CEO Jamie Burke, in a statement. "There is clearly no better partner than Store Nº8, as Walmart's incubation arm, so we are thrilled to launch this accelerator program together.”
Beginning in mid-August, founders will take part in a 12-week program. The cohort members will receive funding and access to subject matter experts from Store Nº8 and Outlier Ventures. They will also receive support from industry mentors in areas such as product roadmap development, the token economy and fundraising.
“Decentralized commerce has the potential to unlock new value in the global commerce ecosystem, so we are excited to partner with Outlier Ventures to support and engage with entrepreneurs building at the forefront of this technology on their path to scale," said Store Nº8 VP Thomas Kang, in a statement.
The new program arrives in the year after Web3 and the metaverse saw a spike in interest from brands and retailers, as the arrival of immersive platforms opened up new digital environments where consumers gathered. Walmart entered the metaverse through an activation on Roblox, and also introduced a platform for digital collectibles. But it remains a nascent space, so there’s room for startups bringing fresh ideas to help larger enterprises develop capabilities. Alongside connections that help startups move forward, such learning is one potential outcome of the accelerator could last beyond the 12 weeks.
Applications for the accelerator are available here.