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Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic and lockdown significantly accelerated the rise of online commerce, compressing years of projected growth into a few months.

The big picture: Stuck at home for weeks on end, we turned to the internet and delivery to meet our consumer needs. That's been a boon for many tech companies, but it's not yet clear whether consumers will return to the real world once the pandemic ends.

By the numbers: Data released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau indicated that U.S. e-commerce retail sales for the second quarter of 2020 rose to $211.5 billion, up 31.8% from the first quarter and 44.5% from the same period last year.

  • E-commerce in the second quarter reached 16.1% of all retail sales, up from 11.8% in the previous quarter.
  • That means that as a share of total retail sales, e-commerce grew as much in three months as it had over the past five years combined.
  • In the U.K., which had a stricter lockdown than the U.S., e-commerce penetration was even greater.
  • The retailer Target experienced 195% year-on-year growth in its e-commerce sales in the second quarter, while Walmart nearly doubled its online sales.

What they're saying: "This was a time when the digital shopping shows what it is really capable of," Biju Dominic, chairman of FinalMile Consulting, said in a briefing on Thursday. "The question is whether this trend will continue after COVID."

The bottom line: Q2 2020 may be looked back upon as a lockdown aberration, but over the long run, more and more of our economic activity will migrate to the internet — just like the rest of our lives.

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Nov 9, 2020 - Sports

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With the Masters' first-ever November start just three days away, it's a great time to look back on 2020's golf boom.

Why it matters: Golf was a physical and mental safe haven for millions of Americans with cabin fever this year, and even moderate retention of the sport's newcomers could help buoy an entire industry for years to come.

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Silver medalist Lilly King of Team USA (left) embraces gold medalist Tatjana Schoenmaker of Team South Africa on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women's 200m breaststroke final on July 30. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

🥇 : U.S. gymnast Suni Lee wins gold in the women's individual all-around

🚣‍♀️: Team USA women's eight rowing fails to reach the podium

🤸🏾‍♀️: Simone Biles reacts to "love and support" after withdrawing from all-around gymnastics and team finals, citing her mental health

🏊: Olympic swimmer Ryan Murphy wins Silver in 200m

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Former Michigan Sen. Carl Levin dies at 87

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) in 2014. He died Thursday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) died Thursday, his family and the Levin Center at Wayne Law — which bore his name — confirmed. He was 87.

Why it matters: The Detroit native served for 36 years in the U.S. Senate, serving twice as chairman of the Armed Services Committee and is credited with helping overturn the military's “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule.