DP17001 E-commerce During Covid: Stylized Facts from 47 Economies

Author(s): Joel Alcedo, Alberto Cavallo, Bricklin Dwyer, Prachi Mishra, Antonio Spilimbergo
Publication Date: February 2022
Keyword(s): Consumption, COVID-19, digitalization, E-commerce, Technological change
JEL(s): E00, F00, O3
Programme Areas: Financial Economics, International Macroeconomics and Finance, Monetary Economics and Fluctuations
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=17001

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.