2021 eCommerce Statistics Every Online Store Should Know

April 19, 2021 / Web Hosting

If you run an online store, it’s important to know what is going on in the world around you, perhaps even more so after the turbulent 12 months businesses have just been through. We’ve been researching online to see the latest trends and developments in eCommerce and here are some of the most interesting facts we’ve discovered.

  1. Consumers shopping more online
    The consumer caution that impacted overall retail sales in February 2020 was short lived. By June last year, figures had returned to normal and have slowly increased since. The really good news for online stores, however, is that online sales as a percentage of all retail sales grew significantly over the last year. Globally it rose to 15.7%. In the UK, over a third of all retail sales are online, according to the ONS, with the January 2021 figure hitting 36.3%.

  2. People spending more online
    Not only are internet sales as a percentage of all retail sales rising, so is the amount being spent online. According to Statista, the global amount jumped from $3.35 trillion in 2019 to $4.28 trillion in 2020. This is predicted to rise to $4.89 trillion in 2021 and reach $6.38 trillion in 2024. This means online spending will have almost doubled over the 2019 to 2024 period. In the UK, the figure rose from £104 billion in 2019 to £141 billion in 2020, a rise of 34.7%.
  3. More people online
    The number of people connected to the internet continues to grow. Globally, the figure rose by 350 million over the last 12 months; a rise of 8.6% to 5.5 billion users. Of these, over half, 50.1%, are in Asia. 16.4% are in Europe, 11.2 % in Africa and 17.6% across North and South America.
    95% of people in the UK are now online, a figure of 63.43 million, who, on average, spend over 5 hours a day connected to the internet. The biggest growth area is in India, which has over 560 million active users spending an average of over 7 hours a day online.
  4. South-East Asia shows the biggest growth
    Companies looking for new markets should take a look at South-East Asia. The online economy in this region is now valued at over $100 billion a year and predicted to grow to $300 billion by 2025. The fastest growth is in India, Vietnam and Indonesia, where online retail sales have jumped over 40%. This is also a region that is seeing massive growth in digital payments which are expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2025, approximately 50% of all payments.
  5. Habits and behaviours
    Research by various organisations has produced some interesting results over 2020 and 2021. If you are looking at increasing traffic to your website, it looks like email still has the highest conversion rates at 4.38%, with direct messaging coming a close second at 4.35%. Internet search comes third with 3.60% and then social media with 2.00%.
    Amazon is by far the most popular place for people to shop. Almost 80% of people reported buying from Amazon, which was more than the 65% who actually bought from any physical store. Branded online stores also did well, with 45% of customers buying from them, 11% higher than the numbers that bought from eBay and 34% higher than Facebook. However, eBay remains highly popular in the UK with 57% of people buying from it.
  6. What turns customers on and off?
    Reviews, security and easy returns are all factors that are seen to influence shoppers’ buying decisions. Over 60% of consumers prefer to buy from stores with customer reviews, while 84% have admitted to abandoning a shopping cart if they find the website is unsecured, i.e. it doesn’t have an SSL certificate.
    Ease of returns has become an important aspect of customer experience. In the UK alone, 30% of companies are investing in technology to make it easier to use their websites to return items. Companies that get their returns right do get rewarded, with 96% of returners who found the process easy saying they would shop with that retailer again. However, paying for returns puts off almost 70% of shoppers.
  7. Generational differences
    It’s not just where you sell that can make a difference, it’s also who you sell to. The latest statistics show some key differences between generational online behaviours and spending habits.  While almost two-thirds of Baby Boomers, Millennials and Gen X report buying from physical stores, that figure dips to 56% for Gen Z, the next generation of shoppers. That’s great news for online retailers that target Gen Z shoppers, especially because it is reported that they spend 8% more of their disposable income online than other generations.
  8. Mobile-friendly eCommerce stores
    The latest figures are a clear indication of why Google is driving its mobile-first policy for website development. By the end of 2021, 54% of online retail sales are expected to take place on smartphones, with 80% of owners making a purchase on their phone over the last 6 months. However, over 60% of customers are reluctant to use a store again if the online experience was poor. Speed is an important factor here. Over half of visitors will abandon a site that takes over 3 seconds to load and, for every second it takes, conversion rates drop by 20%.
    It’s also worth considering that 80% of shoppers in physical stores have used a mobile to compare prices with an online retailer before making a purchase.


As you can see, the research carried out over the last year has thrown up some highly interesting statistics about online shopping growth and how consumers behave when making a purchase. Hopefully, these will help you develop your online venture and grow your business even more.

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