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Online Shopping Outperforms Brick and Mortar Stores for the First Time

For the first time in history, online shopping has overtaken shopping in brick and mortar stores.

According to a report from the Commerce Department this week, non-store (online) retail sales in the U.S. were higher than physical, in-store sales for the first time in history. Considering that, on average, consumers are exposed to nearly 3,000 ads every day online, it doesn’t come as a big surprise. In fact, many people may have believed online shopping had already surpassed in-store shopping.

Paul Hickey, co-founder of Bespoke Investment Group, believes this is a major milestone for online retailers. Hickey’s company reported the Commerce Department statistics to their clients earlier this week.

“The days of the internet and online shopping being ‘just a fad’ have come a long way over the years, but February’s Retail Sales report highlighted another of many major milestones that the growth of online shopping has reached over the years,” Hickey said during his address.

And Hickey is right. Online shopping has taken several percentage points from the overall market share, rising from just 5% market share in the late ’90s to just under 12% in the most recent Commerce Department report.

And with more and more companies entering the online retail space, it’s safe to say online shopping will have an even higher market share in the years to come. For instance, Walmart has recently announced plans to compete with Amazon for online grocery shopping via a partnership with Google.

Rather than keeping everything on a computer, though, Walmart and Google have teamed up to roll out a new voice-operated ordering system via Google Assistant.

The entrance of entities like Walmart and Google into the online shopping arena means more competition for Amazon. But more than that, it means more online shopping in general.

In the midst of a largely digital age, brick and mortar stores are seeing less and less business. With the advent of online shopping and services like Amazon Prime, in-store shopping may be diminishing in the future.