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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Online retail and e-commerce have been chipping away at brick-and-mortar businesses over the years but the combination of the coronavirus pandemic and the 2020 holiday season may prove to be a knockout blow.

The state of play: Anxious consumers say financial concerns and health worries will push them to spend less money this year and to do more of their limited spending online.

Driving the news: Deloitte's latest global survey of consumers finds shoppers plan to spend an average of $1,387 per household, down 7% from 2019.

  • With nearly one third (29%) of respondents saying that their household’s financial situation is worse this year than last, 38% of consumers say they plan to spend less on the holidays, the most since the Great Recession.

By the numbers: Almost 51% of holiday shoppers feel anxious about shopping in-store, and 64% of holiday budgets are expected to be spent online.

  • Spending is expected to shift to non-gift purchases for celebrations at home (up 12% from 2019), and travel is expected to decline 34% year over year.
  • The average shopping window is expected to be 1.5 weeks shorter this year.

On the other side: Amazon's Prime Day — the unofficial start of the 2020 holiday shopping season — delivered a 71% increase in spending from U.S. shoppers over 2019's July event and a 66% increase globally, according to Salesforce data.

  • Traffic to digital sites increased by 40%, even eclipsing 2019's Black Friday (9% growth) and Cyber Monday (11% growth) digital traffic.

While the rising tide of Prime Day has lifted all retail boars in the past, this year brick-and-mortar firms haven't seen nearly the same increase.

  • According to data from foot-traffic tracking firm Placer.ai, Whole Foods saw visits fall 32.1%, while Target, Walmart and Best Buy were down 15.9%, 19.1%, and 11.6%, respectively, compared to July 2019.

What's next: A new poll from Alignable finds 45% of consumers shifted from local purchasing to online shopping when their COVID fears were greatest and many have not gone back.

  • More than half (52%) say they don’t expect to change their current shopping habits for the holiday season.
  • Another 16% plan to increase their spending at national, online retailers instead of shopping locally.

The bottom line: Alignable survey analysts note, "Given this data, there's a chance some Main St. retailers will completely miss out on much of the holiday shopping season — devastating news for many who are already in jeopardy of shutting down for good."

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Nov 2, 2020 - Sports

The third coronavirus wave means even more sports uncertainty

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

America's pro sports leagues sputtered back to life in 2020 with bubbles, comprehensive testing programs and a host of other changes that still seem unimaginable after the fact.

The state of play: The leagues succeeded because they have enormous wealth and were operating mostly in "salvage the season" mode — but now comes the hard part: Figuring out how to do it again — this time from an even worse financial position and amid a third coronavirus wave.

Scoop: Trump-backed Perdue says he wouldn’t have certified Georgia 2020 results

Perdue at a December 2020 campaign event in Columbus, Ga. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue wouldn’t have signed the certification of the state’s 2020 election results if he had been governor at the time, the former Senate Republican told Axios.

  • “Not with the information that was available at the time and not with the information that has come out now. They had plenty of time to investigate this. And I wouldn’t have signed it until those things had been investigated and that’s all we were asking for," he said.

Why it matters: There has been no evidence widespread fraud took place in Georgia's elections last year and the November results were counted three times, once by hand.

Beijing Olympics: These countries have announced diplomatic boycotts

Photo: Zhang Qiang/VCG via Getty Images

Several countries, including Canada and Australia, have announced they will join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protest human rights abuses committed by China's government.

Driving the news: Leaders have faced pressure from human rights groups and others to boycott the Games, pointing to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang region and other abuses.