There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the way consumers shopped in 2020. We saw major changes to the way people buy, both online and offline. We will surely see some lasting changes to the retail sector even as things settle. Some trends won’t reverse. So what did we learn from 2020, and what can we expect in 2021?

Overall, and, unsurprisingly, e-commerce grew last year and continues to grow, with online shopping becoming more and more preferable to consumers. But there’s more!

Here’s what you need to know about e-commerce in 2021:


Global Online Sales are Growing.

  • Global online sales are forecast to reach 22% of all retail sales in 2023 (vs. 14.1% in 2019, Statista).
  • The average items per order increased by 60% during COVID-19 (Contact Pigeon).
  • In August of 2020, online gift stores saw over 490% YOY growth in Gross Merchandise Value (Wix)


We’re spending more on e-commerce advertising.

  • Ecommerce ad spend rose 115% (Q3 2019 vs. Q3 2018) and Amazon was a key player (Marin Software).


Don’t underestimate the power of free shipping.

  • 85% of consumers prefer free shipping over fast shipping (Deloitte).
  • Extra costs, like shipping fees, are the biggest reason why shoppers abandon their online carts (Baymard)  


People are using social media to shop.

  • 40% of consumers have made a purchase via Facebook, 13% via Instagram and 12% via Pinterest (Avionos)


Millennials are the top digital buyers, but don’t underestimate older buyers.

  • The largest group of digital buyers in the US were millennials aged 25 to 34 years in 2020. The second-largest group were 35 to 44 year olds (Statista).
  • The amount of regular online shoppers over 55 has tripled in 2020 according to Waitrose’s report.


Nobody can predict the future with 100% accuracy, but it’s safe to say that e-commerce will continue to grow over the next few years. The impacts of the pandemic on online shopping are here to stay, and ecommerce brands should take advantage of the data that is out there to help them make informed decisions, grow their sales and boost their online presence.

Looking to build a Shopify website for your ecommerce business? Want to find ways to improve your ecommerce brand? Reach out, I can help!