Good news, Amazon: The end of the pandemic is unlikely to slow down e-commerce

An employee places a package into a distribution box at an Inc. fulfilment center in Kegworth, U.K., on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020.
Chris Ratcliffe—Bloomberg/Getty Images

While the amount of time we spend streaming might decrease as we go back to real-life interactions, other parts of the digital wave might be less likely to reverse. Once someone starts using an app to deliver their groceries, would they ever go back? Convenience is hard to give up. 

We tested that theory by looking at digital purchases. Fortune teamed up with SurveyMonkey to poll 1,566 adults between March 24 and 25* asking Americans about their online spending habits. 

The poll found that 49% of U.S. adults say they’re now making more online purchases than they did before the pandemic. 11% of U.S. adults say they’re making fewer online purchases. 

Through the first 36 years of the internet’s entire existence (founded in 1983), the share of Americans making weekly online purchases grew to 27% by 2019. (This is according to a Fortune-SurveyMonkey poll conducted in the fall of 2019.) During the pandemic, that number skyrocketed: By March 2021, 38% of U.S. adults were making weekly online purchases—up 11 percentage points from our 2019 poll.

Simply put, the pandemic really did send digital spending years into the future and the recovery isn’t slowing it down. In 2020, e-commerce grew by 44%, and it’s still going strong: Those spending more online now than pre-pandemic outnumber those who are spending less by nearly 5 to 1. Unlike with streaming, the end of the pandemic is unlikely to pull back the digital spending boom set off by the crisis. 

That online spending growth took place across all age ranges. In fact, Americans over the age of 65 now make weekly purchases at a higher rate (31%) than adults aged 18 to 34 did prior to the pandemic (26%). (Among adults aged 18 to 34, 42% now make weekly purchases.) 

Wall Street’s valuations affirms the sustainability of the COVID-19 spurred online spending boom. Look no further than Stripe, a digital payments processing firm, which is now the world’s second most valuable venture-backed company at a massive $95 billion valuation. That’s behind only TikTok parent company ByteDance. 

*Methodology: The Fortune-SurveyMonkey poll was conducted among a national sample of 1,566 adults in the U.S. between March 24 and 25. This survey’s modeled error estimate is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The findings have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography.

This is an excerpt from Fortune Analytics, an exclusive newsletter that Fortune Premium subscribers receive as a perk of their subscription. The newsletter shares in-depth research on the most discussed topics in the business world right now. Our findings come from special surveys we run and proprietary data we collect and analyze. Sign up to get the full briefing in your inbox.

Subscribe to Well Adjusted, our newsletter full of simple strategies to work smarter and live better, from the Fortune Well team. Sign up today.

Read More

Great ResignationInflationSupply ChainsLeadership