Insider Intelligence delivers leading-edge research to clients in a variety of forms, including full-length reports and data visualizations to equip you with actionable takeaways for better business decisions.
In-depth analysis, benchmarks and shorter spotlights on digital trends.
Learn More
Interactive projections with 10k+ metrics on market trends, & consumer behavior.
Learn More
Proprietary data and over 3,000 third-party sources about the most important topics.
Learn More
Industry KPIs
Industry benchmarks for the most important KPIs in digital marketing, advertising, retail and ecommerce.
Learn More
Client-only email newsletters with analysis and takeaways from the daily news.
Learn More
Analyst Access Program
Exclusive time with the thought leaders who craft our research.
Learn More

About Insider Intelligence

Our goal at Insider Intelligence is to unlock digital opportunities for our clients with the world’s most trusted forecasts, analysis, and benchmarks. Spanning five core coverage areas and dozens of industries, our research on digital transformation is exhaustive.
Our Story
Learn more about our mission and how Insider Intelligence came to be.
Learn More
Rigorous proprietary data vetting strips biases and produces superior insights.
Learn More
Our People
Take a look into our corporate culture and view our open roles.
Join the Team
Contact Us
Speak to a member of our team to learn more about Insider Intelligence.
Contact Us
See our latest press releases, news articles or download our press kit.
Learn More
Advertising & Sponsorship Opportunities
Reach an engaged audience of decision-makers.
Learn More
Browse our upcoming and past events, recent podcasts, and other featured resources.
Learn More
Tune in to eMarketer's daily, weekly, and monthly podcasts.
Learn More

How Has the Pandemic Affected Our Brick-and-Mortar Holiday Forecast?

Ecommerce will see gains, but brick-and-mortar retail will decline

Despite what should be historic headwinds, we are projecting marginally positive holiday season growth rates this year amid unprecedented channel-shifting behavior. In short, ecommerce’s impressive showing in 2020 will make up for a sizable deficit at brick-and-mortar retail.

We anticipate that total US retail sales for the November–December holiday period will reach $1.013 trillion, up 0.9% from last year and the second-ever season to eclipse the $1 trillion mark.

“This growth rate is the lowest since 2008, when the holiday season was in the throes of the financial crisis,” said Andrew Lipsman, eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence and author of our recent report “Holiday Shopping 2020.”

“Nevertheless, it’s a positive story to achieve growth at all, given the current economic backdrop,” he said.

But the diverging storylines between retail channels couldn’t be more stark. Brick-and-mortar sales—which will account for 81.2% of total US holiday retail—are expected to decline 4.7% this holiday season, while ecommerce will jump 35.8%.

There is a silver lining in these otherwise tepid numbers for brick-and-mortar retail. Despite the channel’s expected drop, results could be much worse. Data from, a location analytics firm, indicates that retail foot traffic has been in double-digit negative territory every month since the beginning of the pandemic. Even as foot traffic has rebounded in recent months—in September, weekly retail foot traffic varied between declines of 13% and 17%—foot traffic fell well below the 4.7% holiday sales decline we expect. The reason? Average basket sizes are increasing to make up for it.

But brick-and-mortar’s resilience extends only so far, and it’s clear that the so-called “retail apocalypse” will rear its ugly head. Already, retail store closures are on record pace this year, with Coresight Research reporting 7,990 closings versus just 3,354 openings through September 18, 2020. Those shuttering the most stores include mid-tier mall retailers like Ascena Retail and Victoria’s Secret, while those opening stores are predominantly discount retailers like Dollar General and Dollar Tree.

The holiday season may be a last gasp for several more brick-and-mortar retailers that will face bankruptcy and/or additional store closings in 2021.

Not sure if your company subscribes? You can find out here.