The Future of Ecommerce and 2021 Retail Statistics


The global Covid-19 pandemic has certainly had a long-term effect on us all, but how has it affected the retail industry and will there be lasting implications for e-commerce businesses ?

We are all very aware that the e-commerce landscape has been altered indefinitely in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, being both successful and at times ruthless. It has also significantly changed the consumption habits of consumers, in particular or and How? ‘Or’ What they choose to spend their money.

Working with many clients in the ecommerce industry, it is absolutely important that Hitsearch, as a business, keeps an eye on the fluctuation of in-store spending versus online spending. The purpose of this is to provide you with some useful observations that could help your business adjust to the long term effects the pandemic could have on the retail industry.

What happened in the first year of the pandemic?

At first it appeared that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown on e-commerce all seemed like good news – with many people working from home with little else to do. , consumer behavior changed dramatically almost immediately. While the main streets were closed, the web was still open for business, and therefore more and more purchases were made almost exclusively through online orders., even to the weekly grocery store. Many of those uninformed or unsure of e-commerce, much preferring in-store consumption experiences, were forced to familiarize themselves with the online format due to a lack of options. during the first locking.

Source: Office for National Statistics – Monthly Business Survey – Retail Sales Survey

This is reflected in ONS statistics from 2020, where the number of people switching from offline to online shopping doubled in a matter of weeks – when February data was compared with April data from the same year. We can see from the table above that food, department stores and housewares saw the biggest increase, with online clothing stores also showing an increase in sales but less change. What’s interesting here is that even after the gradual opening of big box stores in August 2020, consumers continued to shop more online, with sales “remaining over 50% above. those at the start of the year “(ONS, 2020). It seemed like people had gotten used to receiving packages right at their doorstep, rather than having to leave home, and many who had perhaps been skeptical before had gotten used to this convenience.

This was great news for companies that were selling most of their products through e-commerce, showing an evolving change in the retail industry and prompting many people to offer online delivery where they didn’t. had not been pre-pandemic.

How has that changed over the past year and what do the statistics for 2021 reflect?

It seemed like there had been a permanent shift in spending habits, with online shopping becoming more convenient and working much better with people’s busy schedules. Many in the industry believed that e-commerce sales would continue to grow more and more, however, this would not be the case. In June 2021, e-commerce sales fell at a record pace (Retail Week, 2021).

Online shopping “fell 14.1% year-over-year throughout the month” (Charged Retail, 2021), leaving many online businesses worried about the end of the month. sharp increase in web sales caused by the pandemic in 2020.

Office-for-National-Statistics-Monthly-Business-Survey-Retail-Sales-Inquiry2Source: Office for National Statistics – Monthly Business Survey – Retail Sales Survey

In comparison, in-store retail sales rose for the first time since their huge success in March 2020, and in June 2021, they were “9.5% higher than in February 2020” ( ONS, 2021), as shown in the graph. above.

This number could be a reflection of our slow return to normality and pre-pandemic society, with restrictions easing more and more after the infamous “Freedom Day” which took place on the 19th.e July 2021. With the vaccine now rolling out to all age groups in the UK, this statistic could indicate consumers are finally placing more trust in shopping experiences on the high street and in person. After spending so many months in and out of foreclosure restrictions and various rule changes, it seems people want the ability to interact with retailers in ways they haven’t had for a very long time.

What has this meant for those in the retail industry, both online and on Main Street?

This shift between online and in-person shopping is expected to continue to fluctuate as shoppers settle in after the excitement of the restrictions easing. It is likely to stabilize again, to become more balanced, with a more even distribution between the two worlds online and offline. Experts believe that businesses with both online and in-store locations will have to deal with “fluctuating demand and inventory challenges across channels to ensure consumers’ availability as their buying habits change.” ”(Charged Retail, 2021).

For those who run their business solely online, these are important statistics to watch as they could have a drastic effect on web traffic and conversion rates. However, with the onset of winter and the threat of yet another lockdown, we could always revert to the favorable statistics of 2020 which showed a sharp increase in e-commerce sales.

To summarize…

Overall, we’ve seen a number of statistical anomalies occur over the past eighteen months, with both in-store retail and online sales booming, now a record drop in the market. e-commerce and the shopping street benefiting consumers more than it has in years. The retail industry currently experiences extremely rare circumstances, so it’s hard to predict what may happen next, but it’s important that we keep a close eye on a business sector that is constantly and unpredictably changing. .

About Valerie Wilson

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