Key Ecommerce Statistics in a Post COVID world - POS system and basket on a counter

Key ecommerce statistics in a post COVID world

Monday, November 29, 2021

The global pandemic of COVID-19 has had an extraordinary impact on economic patterns and ecommerce statistics throughout the world. Due to a drastic change in supply chains, workflows, and lifestyles, consumers have shifted to a greater dependence on ecommerce sales and engaging with online retailers, businesses, and products through virtual channels. Ecommerce markets and online shopping have become a standardized experience for many consumers. As supply chains, product strategies, and online retailers have adapted to the new realities of a post-COVID world, there exists a great opportunity to join and grow within the booming ecommerce marketplace.

This article will explore general ecommerce statistics and trends observed since COVID-19 emerged in 2020 in the United States and how this impacts the ecommerce market moving into 2022. But first, let's clarify what ecommerce sales is and how ecommerce business is completed in the online space.

What is ecommerce?

Simply put, ecommerce (short for electronic commerce) involves commercial transactions that take place virtually, namely, the internet. Ecommerce business can also involve the transfer of money or data as well. Instead of making purchases at a brick and mortar store, consumers are able to buy and sell goods online from a mobile device such as a computer or smartphone, from a variety of platforms such as social media, ecommerce websites, etc. 

Traditionally, there have been three primary types of ecommerce sales: business to business, business to consumer, and consumer to consumer. The primary type of ecommerce sales that will be the focus of this article is focusing on trends specific to business to consumer ecommerce transactions. 

The ecommerce market is an attractive option for online shoppers, particularly in light of changed lifestyles as a result of COVID-19. Ecommerce sales allow for flexibility and an overall faster buying process. On the flip side, businesses should be mindful that online sales can run greater security risks and remove the customer interaction point that is a part of the engagement process in more traditional commerce exchanges. 

Without question, ecommerce is here to stay. In fact, as we review the trends listed below, it is quite evident that the ecommerce market is shifting toward a greater reliance on ecommerce. It is worth noting that when the pandemic began in the United States in 2020, the ecommerce market experienced 10 years of growth in a total of 90 days (3 months). That level of growth is expected to stabilize in the years to come. 

General ecommerce statistics and consumer trends in the pandemic

#1: Increases in online spending is here to stay

The biggest statistic that ecommerce businesses should be aware of is in regard to consumer online spending. In 2021, online spending generated $183 billion, a number which is expected to increase in the years to come. 

Reports have indicated that 84% of consumers shopped online during the pandemic. Moreover, in the digital space, there has been a 48% increase in global ecommerce application downloads. That means that consumers will have access to their desired marketplaces and products at any given time. Online consumers like what they see and they are finding ways to access their desired goods faster and more efficiently. As a result, brands and businesses must be agile to keep up with the demand.

#2: Offering curbside pick-up is key

For the 150 million shoppers who shopped online for the first time in 2020, a key aspect for customer retention has been the ease of the purchase  ̶  from start to finish. Many of the online shoppers who have tried online shopping and have continued to engage in this medium like the ability to optimize their purchasing. When retailers and companies have been able to offer curbside pick-up or home delivery, consumers have responded positively and consistently. Thus, businesses holding a mobile marketing strategy will be important as this medium grows and expands.

#3: Commercial transactions for personal investment

The beauty and fashion market segment took up the biggest portion of retail ecommerce sales completed in 2020. This is important because it tells us where consumer priorities lie. In fact, 28% of consumers invested in home renovations or amenities; for example, a gym, pool, or office. Because consumers are spending more time at home, they are investing in items that will promote the lifestyle that they want. For ecommerce businesses, this means developing means to reach this market segment and increase conversion rates for this customer profile.

#4: Online grocery shopping interest continues to grow

Tesco, a British-based multinational grocer and retailer, reports 74.1% growth from pre-pandemic ecommerce sales to 2021 ecommerce sales. They also report having 6.6 million users on their grocery application. As a result, Tesco has invested heavily in their online shopping platform to optimize user experience. COVID-19 presented an opportunity for grocers and other ecommerce platforms to find new ways of bringing their product to market and the online sales opportunity has exploded around the world for grocery retailers. 

Of note, 75% of consumers tried new shopping behaviors during the pandemic. In the context of ecommerce, this means that whether with groceries or another type of product, consumers are open to diversified ecommerce sales approaches. Grocery stores have responded to this flexibility, and other sectors and industries have followed suit.  

Gearing Up for 2022

Consumers on track to spend 1 trillion in 2022

Based on ecommerce statistics and ecommerce trends from 2021, there is a belief that 2022 could be the year that ecommerce hits 1 trillion U.S. dollars in total online spending. Ecommerce statistics are pointing to a total of around 900 billion U.S. dollars for ecommerce sales in 2021. Because the reliance on mobile commerce is expected to continue, it appears that 2022 may be the biggest year for online stores yet. Interestingly, there is evidence that shows that holiday season sales will have less of an impact since online shopping is taking place regardless of peak sales points. 

Brand personalization will help differentiate ecommerce businesses in the marketplace

With a greater emphasis on ecommerce sales and the ecommerce market, the competition between retailers and businesses is increasing. Because of this, ecommerce businesses are needing to stand out more to get the attention of consumers. Moreover, because there is increased fluidity in the market with less brand loyalty, ecommerce businesses will need to tailor their marketing toward the specific experience the online shopper has in the ecommerce customer experience. Utilizing data analytics, algorithms, and user trends will be essential for ecommerce businesses to gain traction in a competitive ecommerce market and increase optimization of their market share. 

Omnichannel strategy is a must for ecommerce growth

Ecommerce statistics show that an omnichannel approach to sales can elevate a business’s ability for success in the ecommerce market. An omnichannel approach involves the intentional development of a positive customer experience no matter where or how the customer is making the purchase. For ecommerce businesses, this means looking at how a customer experiences the transaction whether making a purchase from a mobile phone, computer, tablet, or utilizing a company-based application. A key aspect of an omnichannel strategy in the context of ecommerce sales is to provide integration for everything a customer might need during the transaction.

242 billion is the value of returned items from ecommerce purchases

As consumers rely more and more on ecommerce sales, they are also expecting a seamless process for returned goods or items. It is estimated that by the end of 2022, returned goods will reach a value of 242 billion U.S. dollars, particularly as consumers expect to be able to return goods for free. Moreover, many consumers add products to their online carts but do not end up completing the sales transaction, thus reducing the conversation rate for online sales. Online retailers must take a look at their fulfillment process to ensure a reduction in losses as much as feasibly possible. 


Ready to gear up your ecommerce business in 2022? 

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