Worldwide Ecommerce Sales Jumped 27.6 Percent Last Year

January 26, 2021

Report: Worldwide Ecommerce Sales Jumped 27.6 Percent Last Year

Ecommerce Sales Exploded, Despite 3 Percent Decline in Total Retail Sales

Earlier this month, Insider Intelligence released its Global Ecommerce Update 2021, authored by analyst and forecaster Ethan Cramer-Flood. According to the report, worldwide retail ecommerce sales totaled $4.280 trillion in 2020, marking 27.6 percent year-over-year growth. At the same time, total worldwide retail sales actually declined 3 percent to $23.839 trillion, the report noted.

Consequently, Ecommerce’s share of worldwide retail sales grew 4.4 points and 32 percent, from 13.6 percent in 2019 to 18 percent in 2020. Much of that strong expansion is attributed to the impact of covid-19, which forced consumers worldwide to drastically adjust their purchase patterns.

However, the consensus among experts is that the global pandemic merely accelerated the inexorable long-term shift from brick-and-mortar outlets to virtual, online stores. The Global Ecommerce Update 2021 projects that “worldwide Ecommerce will approach $5 trillion this year.” Notably, the Ecommerce channel would need to achieve 16.8 percent year-over-year growth in 2021 in order to make that milestone a reality.

Cramer-Flood actually expects sales recorded by brick-and-mortar stores to strengthen some this year. His projection for 2021 Ecommerce sales is just under $4.9 trillion. Still, that would represent 14.3 percent growth for the online channel, compared to 2020.

In a public statement, Insider Intelligence explained that, “US consumers overwhelmingly reduced spending on services and entertainment this year. This in turn led to an unexpectedly strong outcome for spending on certain retail goods, as households used the suddenly available cash to splurge on consumer electronics, home furnishings, groceries, and a range of other products. Much of this spending took place online.

“Perhaps the most consequential digital story of 2020, the widespread embrace of ecommerce during the pandemic unexpectedly accelerated the channel’s progress by almost two years.”

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