E-commerce During Covid: Stylized Facts from 47 Economies
We study e-commerce across 47 economies and 26 industries during the COVID-19 pandemic using aggregated and anonymized transaction-level data from Mastercard, scaled to represent total consumer spending. The share of online transactions in total consumption increased more in economies with higher pre-pandemic e-commerce shares, exacerbating the digital divide across economies. Overall, the latest data suggest that these spikes in online spending shares are dissipating at the aggregate level, though there is variation across industries. In particular, the share of online spending in professional services and recreation has fallen below its pre-pandemic trend, but we observe a longer-lasting shift to digital in retail and restaurants.
We thank Swapnil Agarwal for excellent research support. All errors remain our own. The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the the National Bureau of Economic Research, the IMF, its Management and Executive Board, or IMF policy. This paper first appeared as IMF Working Paper Number WP/22/19.