The Companies Dominating the U.S. Ecommerce Market
While the migration online has been happening for years, COVID-19 has certainly helped to accelerate things, particularly when it comes to online shopping.
This year, the U.S. has seen a significant spike in online sales. By the end of 2020, ecommerce is expected to make up 14.5% of all U.S. retail sales, compared to 11% in 2019.
That’s the biggest year-over-year increase U.S. ecommerce has seen since 2008.
And, while online shopping overall has shown exceptional growth, only a small group of retailers make up the majority of sales—in 2020, the top 10 eretailers will capture an estimated 63% of total market share.
Who are the top players, and how much space do they take up in the U.S. ecommerce market?
|Company||Est. 2020 U.S. sales (billions)||% of total U.S. ecommerce sales|
|The Home Depot||$16.7 B||2.1%|
|Best Buy||$15.7 B||2.0%|
|The Kroger Co.||$11.3 B||1.4%|
|Costco Wholesale||$11.2 B||1.4%|
Unsurprisingly, Amazon outranks its peers significantly, taking up 39.0% of the overall market. In contrast, the second-largest eretailer, Walmart, makes up only 5.8%.
As ecommerce continues to grow and mature, will competitors gain ground, or will Amazon continue to dominate the online world?
» Interested in ecommerce, and Amazon’s market dominance? Read our full article: Visualizing the Size of the World’s Most Valuable Retailer.
1.6 Billion Disposable Masks Entered Our Oceans in 2020
1.6 billion face masks entered our oceans in 2020, representing 5,500 tons of plastic pollution.
Demand for Disposable Masks Skyrockets in 2020
Following the World Health Organization’s formal declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments around the world quickly mandated the use of face masks in public spaces.
This led to a massive demand shock, prompting factories to begin producing disposable masks at full capacity. The majority of these masks were produced in China, and in April 2020, the country reported a staggering daily production figure of 450 million masks.
Plastic Pollution: A Lesser Known Side Effect
In Ocean Asia’s 2020 report, Masks on the Beach, researchers developed a formula to provide reasonable estimates for the number of disposable masks entering the environment.
Given an annual production figure of 52 billion disposable masks and a loss rate of 3% (the percentage of masks that escape water management systems), the team concluded that nearly 1.6 billion face masks wound up in our oceans in 2020. This amounts to approximately 5,500 tons of plastic pollution.
These masks are commonly made of polypropylene, which easily breaks up into microplastics. While the effects of microplastics on human health are not yet determined, these fragments are incredibly common in our water supply—for example, 94% of U.S. tap water is deemed to be contaminated.
Disposable Doesn’t Mean They’re Gone
Despite their single-use nature, disposable masks are expected to take more than four centuries to decompose while in the ocean. Here’s how this compares to other items we use on a day-to-day basis.
|Item||Years Needed to Biodegrade|
|Plastic grocery bag||20|
The pandemic has extended well into 2021, and the number of disposable masks polluting our oceans is likely to continue growing.
With this in mind, various companies and organizations are beginning to search for a solution. One noteworthy example is Plaxtil, which is developing a method for recycling surgical masks so that the raw materials can be used for other products.
»Like this? Then you might enjoy this infographic on the flow of plastic waste.
Olympics 2021: Comparing Every Sports Ball
Here are the different sizes and weights of each Olympic sports ball used in the Tokyo Olympics.
Olympics 2021: Comparing Every Sports Ball
It might be strange having the Olympics in 2021 (an odd year), but 2020 was anything but normal.
After facing a 12-month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are set to kick off from July 23 to August 8.
In addition to hosting traditional sports like running and aquatics, some sports are being introduced for the first time (karate, skateboarding) or returning after an absence (baseball).
One thing that many Olympic sports share in common? There are 17 different sports that use balls or spheres of some sort, ranging in size and weight. Here are the different balls used in the Tokyo Olympics.
Olympic Sports Balls by Size and Weight
The 2021 Olympics, which are still officially called the 2020 Olympics to keep the four-year cycle and branding consistent, are hosting 339 events across 33 different sports.
|Water Polo (Women’s)||21.01cm||425g|
|Water Polo (Men’s)||22.28cm||425g|
Even within the same categories of sports, balls have different size and weight rules based on event or gender. Water polo, handball, and basketball all have slight variations of a few centimeters in diameter and up to 100g in weight for different gender events.
But sorting the balls by weight shows that the shot is far and away the heaviest. At 7.26kg, the shot is more than 10 times heavier than a basketball. That’s because while most sporting balls are made of light material filled with air, shots are typically constructed entirely of metal.
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