Did the COVID-19 pandemic permanently impact e-commerce in the US market?

Ismail H. Genc (1) Mohammad Arzaghi (2)
(1) American University of Sharjah, UAE, United Arab Emirates
(2) American University of Sharjah, UAE, United Arab Emirates


The pandemic compelled many individuals, initially hesitant about online shopping, to overcome their reservations, acquire essential skills, and transition to online retail. This provided a natural experiment to assess whether the barriers to online shopping and the comfort of traditional in-store habits have hindered a broader shift to e-commerce. This paper uses the US retail data to analyze e-commerce activities before, during, and after the pandemic to determine whether the pandemic has permanently altered the pattern of the activities to determine whether the pandemic has permanently altered the pattern of the activities by utilizing structural break detection tools. Additionally, we carry out a forecasting exercise for post-pandemic based on pre-pandemic data to confirm our findings. Results suggest that while e-commerce activities surged during lockdown, they have predominantly reverted to pre-pandemic patterns. Our findings caution both investors and companies against overreaction in the face of exuberant changes in the market to avoid painful corrections afterward.

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Ismail H. Genc
igenc@aus.edu (Primary Contact)
Mohammad Arzaghi
Author Biographies

Ismail H. Genc, American University of Sharjah, UAE

American University of Sharjah, School of Business Administration, Department of Economics, POBox 26666 Sharjah, UAE; email: igenc@aus.edu

Mohammad Arzaghi, American University of Sharjah, UAE

American University of Sharjah, UAE; email: marzaghi@aus.edu

Genc, I. H., & Arzaghi, M. (2024). Did the COVID-19 pandemic permanently impact e-commerce in the US market?. Modern Finance, 2(1), 18–30. https://doi.org/10.61351/mf.v2i1.74

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