Explore our Digital Marketing Strategy and Planning Toolkit

Forecast e-commerce growth in percentage of online retail / e-commerce sales 2017 to 2023

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 06 Apr, 2021
Advanced Advanced topic

E-commerce 2021: The latest data and forecasts for all things online retail growth

It's interesting to look back at e-commerce growth over the last few years and think forward to the future of this industry. As demonstrated by these charts from Statistica, the overall percentage of E-commerce retail sales have certainly grown in the last few months, accounting for 16% of sales in the US in Q2 2020.

ecommerce growth 2020 US

Equally, we have watched the overall percentage of E-commerce retail sales in the UK rising to nearly a third of all retail in the UK in May 2020 - it has since decreased slightly, but it will be interesting to follow this trend over this year, the holiday season, and into next year.

Looking to grow your e-commerce business? We've got practical marketing strategy and planning solutions for online retailers just like you. Our step-by-step marketing tools are proven to generate growth, so you can take advantage of the huge growth potential in e-commerce today. Find out more.

Is your E-commerce or Retail business competing online?

With so much competition, you need to stand out. Use the RACE Growth Process to win more customers

Get started now

Worldwide E-commerce by region 2021

The chart below from eMarketer's 2021 global e-commerce report breaks down regional e-commerce growth last year.  Leading the way, Latin America grew 36.7%. We saw less growth in the Middle East & Africa, 19.8%, but this is still a commendable growth rate.

E-commerce 2021

E-commerce sector growth: Which sectors have the largest share of total sales?

As we can see in the chart which depicts the state of play for online retail sectors in the UK, non-store retailers have come out on top of the e-commerce growth spurt. These sellers have been geared up from the start for the socially distanced retailing model now crucial to so many businesses. It's interesting to see that textile, clothing, and footwear stores are enjoying nearly a third of all online purchases in 2020.

UK online retail sectors 2020

Is your E-commerce or Retail business competing online?

With so much competition, you need to stand out. Use the RACE Growth Process to win more customers

Get started now

The changing nature of e-commerce and growth

The pandemic and subsequent global recession have caused many marketers to go back to the drawing board. The following is taken from eMarketer's 2020 report:

"Before COVID-19, we had forecast that global retail would expand by 4.4%, to $26.460 trillion in 2020. For ecommerce, those figures had been 18.4% growth and $4.105 trillion in sales. However, we have decreased our retail forecast by over 10 percentage points and our ecommerce forecast by 2 percentage points. This reduced our overall outlook for retail ecommerce sales by $190.79 billion."

The latest e-commerce growth forecast from eMarketer suggests that globally e-commerce sales will increase to 16% of all sales in 2020. This is an increase of 19%.

This projection shows the growth in digital buyers. The declining percentage change shows that growth rates for e-commerce are declining, although they are still positive.

e-commerce growth 2017-2023

US E-commerce sales 2020

The US Government has been cataloging the trend of percentage of e-commerce sales for many years. The overall percentage of sales is not as high as might be expected.

In the 2nd half of 2020, US E-commerce sales averaged out at 14 percent of total sales

US retail forecast

Note that the U.S. Census data counts cooked food, auto sales/repair, and vehicle fuel as part of retail, which understates the U.S. online share of retail compared to European estimates which exclude these.

E-commerce growth in 2020 was, naturally, an international phenomenon. Smart Insights members around the world are applying our marketing tools and templates to plan, manage and optimize their marketing strategies. Get started today.

Is your E-commerce or Retail business competing online?

With so much competition, you need to stand out. Use the RACE Growth Process to win more customers

Get started now

Centre for Retail Research

The Online Retailing: Britain, Europe, US and Canada research 2020 report from the Centre for Retail Research shows that the retail online retail sector is the main driver of growth in European and North American retailing.

Changes in onine shares of retail trade

UK IMRG data for e-commerce growth

The IMRG-Cap Gemini Index is only available for members who include the largest UK E-commerce and multichannel brands. It's useful for seeing sector-specific trends. Their most recent update, for example, shows these levels of growth:

• UK online retail sales in October 2019 reported year-on-year growth of +6.3%

• Month-on-month performance reported +6.4%

• Excluding travel and ticketing retailers, the market growth was a healthy +9.2% year-on-year

• Home was the top performer with +13.6% YoY growth

• Menswear and Womenswear struggled during October with negative growth

Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. Dave is editor of the 100+ templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ digital marketing experts. Our resources are used by our Premium members in more than 100 countries to Plan, Manage and Optimize their digital marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

Recommended Blog Posts