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Top-10 e-commerce trends in 2021

E-commerce is the fastest growing online activity, and its volumes are growing exponentially. This popularity is due to the ease and comfort that online shopping entails, as well as the global coronavirus pandemic. Here’s how the global online sales grew in 2020:

how the global online sales grew in 2020

Everything goes to the fact that buyers visit shopping centers less often, and instead buy more actively on the Internet. Retailers are forced to follow them. What’s next for online trading? We’ve studied some of the world’s most notable trends that best describe the future of online sales. These ideas will come in handy for managing your business more efficiently or when building your own online store.

1. Online sales growth will continue

This trend is typical for 2020 and it will continue in 2021-2022. According to the Statista, in 2021 global revenues from online trading will reach $ 4.9 trillion, and by 2022 will increase to $ 6.54 trillion, which is 85.27% more than in 2019. The more users buy online and get a positive online shopping experience, the more willingly they come back.


E-commerce is a universal business. It is suitable for retailers of all types and sizes; covers the sale of all kinds of goods, from truck parts to shoes and clothing. Both manufacturers of goods and retailers can sell on the Internet. Therefore, if you are still not online, it’s time to take care of your own online store or marketplace. 

2. Mobile traffic growth

The increase in the number of mobile purchases is another notable e-commerce trend in recent years. Mobile sales are expected to grow by 15% to account for 73% of all online sales by the end of 2021. 

Mobile traffic growth

Customers use mobile devices not only at the stage of placing an order, but also before making a purchase decision, when they examine the product. Therefore, in order not to lose customers, it is necessary to adapt the online store for mobile devices. If the site has a mobile version, it can be tested using the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. The service will show if there are any problems with loading the site and how friendly it is for mobile. It is also possible to develop a PWA (Progressive Web App), so buyers can install your site as an app on their mobile phone. This means that even in case of problems with the Internet, the online store can be used. 

3. Record Competition

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce has taken a leap forward: what used to take 10 years happened in literally 90 days: 

10 years growth in 3 months

Therefore, the competition in e-commerce is now at a record high. Wholesale companies, global retail giants, and even companies that traditionally did not sell goods over the Internet are present online. In addition, competition comes from abroad: as COVID-19 spreads, consumers begin to shop outside their countries. So, from January to June 2020, cross-border e-commerce grew by 21% year on year. All this changes user behavior and sets new quality standards for online stores.

4. The most important thing is simplicity and convenience

Consumers choose online stores where they can shop more conveniently and quickly. Therefore, the most common reason for abandoned carts in 2021 will be a complex checkout process.

the most common reasons for abandoned carts in 2021

If you want your online store to become more competitive, you should simplify checkout as much as possible:

  • add checkout in one click;
  • minimize the number of steps in the checkout;
  • add a popular payment aggregator;
  • save the data entered by the user;
  • add the ability to buy from the product card, excluding the stage of adding to the cart;
  • add the ability to register goods by installments;
  • display in a conspicuous place the estimated cost and delivery time.

5. Shipping is your competitive advantage

Consumers choose online retailers that offer fast and reliable shipping, preferably free. Some statistics from Statista: 64% of consumers want their orders to be delivered free of charge, and 67% of consumers expect that the goods will be delivered within 1-2 days after ordering. To meet such high requirements, it will be necessary to modernize logistics processes: locate warehouses closer to customers, expand the network of points of issue, automate the acceptance of claims and return of goods.

6. Choosing environmentally friendly brands

In 2021, brand building has never been more important and more difficult. The good news is that socially conscious consumers are willing to pay to buy certain brands if their positioning resonates in their hearts. The trend towards environmental friendliness is coming to the fore. conducted a survey in which they asked respondents: “Are you ready to buy environmentally friendly products even if they cost a little bit more?”. It turned out that most of the respondents tend to buy organic products, even if they are slightly more expensive than conventional ones.

Are you ready to buy environmentally friendly products even if they cost a little bit more?

People are increasingly interested in products made using environmental technologies, recyclable, and preserving a clean environment. So sellers have to adapt to these requirements: use recycled packaging, add environmentally friendly products to the assortment, and participate in environmental campaigns.

7. Better to keep customers than attract new ones

Despite the fact that total ad spending in 2020 decreased by 20%, online ad spend increased by 13%. According to Facebook, at the end of 2020, the cost of contextual advertising increased by 17%, and advertising on social networks by 24%.

So, customer acquisition costs are on the rise worldwide and across all channels. Facebook bids are returning to their highs, making ad campaigns more expensive. While attracting new customers is important, the growing competition for attention online is increasing the value of existing customers. It is more profitable to focus on increasing their loyalty than on attracting new customers. Statistics show that if the number of loyal customers increases by 5%, the store’s profit will grow by at least 25% (in some niches, profit growth can reach 95%).

8. Focus on Product Packaging

The YouTube unpacking trend has led to a new trend in e-commerce. Packaging plays an increasingly important role: the more beautiful it is, the more likely the user will buy the product, recommend it to friends, or come back for shopping himself. The original packaging is associated with the brand itself and distinguishes it from competitors. When designing packaging, the emphasis can be placed not only on aesthetics, but also on personalization or sustainability.

9. Omniacal sales

With the development of e-commerce, a potential buyer has a choice of where and how to buy a product. For example, he can see an advertisement on Instagram or Facebook and go from there to the online store. He also can compare prices for goods in Google Merchant, and place an order there. Perhaps he will see a cool thing in an offline store and decide to search for it on Google. Therefore, in order not to miss out on potential buyers, you need to offer your products everywhere, otherwise your online store will go unnoticed. Keeping track of all these sales channels separately is too labor intensive. It is much more convenient when channels of communication with customers are integrated into a single communication system. This is omniakality. 

It turns out that in addition to the online store, you influence the customer through all available sales channels: social networks, contextual advertising, product aggregators, SMS notifications, etc. These channels are combined into a single system (usually in CRM) so that it is convenient to manage them and analyze statistics.

10. AR and voice sales

Earlier users ordered products on the Internet, the appearance of which did not matter much or it could be easily estimated through the website. The development of AR technologies (augmented reality) and their integration into online stores will allow selling almost everything on the Internet: even things that require fitting or preliminary inspection. The user will be able to see how the T-shirt will sit on him, or how the TV will fit into the apartment interior, even before buying.

The development of voice shopping is also observed. With the help of Google Assistant, Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa and similar virtual assistants, people seek to simplify their lives by shifting various tasks to them, up to making online purchases. Considering that voice services can recognize different languages, it has become even easier for users to shop online. This is the most common way to buy household goods, food, and inexpensive electronics. By 2022, the number of shoppers who shop through voice services is expected to increase by 55% over 2020.

In order not to miss out on these buyers, it is important to optimize your online store for voice search:

  • optimize content for LSI and Long Tail key phrases taken from search suggestions;
  • implement voice navigation.

So, these 10 e-commerce trends will lead in 2021. For those who do not want to miss out on their potential customers, it is important to prepare in advance. If you decide to start your own online business or upgrade your online store to the new realities of e-commerce, Cart-Power will help you invest your money wisely and offer complex IT solutions.