From the way we network, to the way we get our news we’re slowly but surely moving everything online. And shopping is no exception. 

In the past few decades, online shopping has gone from being non-existent to becoming a multibillion-dollar industry. Buying things online has become a common practice among millions of people around the world. Recently the number of people buying goods and services online has increased more than ever before.

One of the reasons why online shopping has grown so much over the years is because of the experience that businesses are able to provide to their customers. We’re constantly seeing businesses add new features and services for online shoppers, with the intent of providing them the same support and comfort that they would have during an in-person shopping experience. 

The truth is that shopping online is becoming more and more like shopping in person. 

If you’ve got an online store, or are interested in building one, these top 10 online shopping statistics will help guide you in the right direction for 2021. 

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10 Online Shopping Statistics You Need to Know in 2021

1. How Many People Shop Online?

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In 2021, an estimated 2.14 billion people worldwide are expected to purchase goods online (Statista, 2017). At the same time, global ecommerce sales is forecast at $4.891 trillion. If these online shopping statistics aren’t enough to blow you away, projections show that ecommerce sales worldwide are going to grow to $6.4 trillion by 2024. 

The growth of online shopping is simply impressive and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to slow down any time soon. This is good news for you, whether you’re an online buyer or an online seller. 

The reason for choosing online shopping could vary from convenience to competitive prices. In addition to that, online businesses are trying their best to make sure that the experience of online shopping matches in-person shopping experiences. 

Now, buyers can find more details and product descriptions from the comfort of your home much more easily, thanks to advancements such as the 360-degree product views and model size details for online clothing stores.

If you’ve got an ecommerce store, you probably know that with growing competition, it can be hard to stand out. That’s why it’s important to choose your target audience carefully, and try to focus your efforts on your customers. One way to do this is to provide customers with detailed product descriptions and images.

2. Shopping Begins Online

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63 percent of shopping occasions begin online (Thinkwithgoogle, 2018). 

This means that no matter where customers are finally making the purchase (online or in a brick-and-mortar store), their customer journey is starting online – in most cases on Google or Amazon, where they’re doing their research. That’s also why it’s crucial for brands to have a strong online presence. By improving the customer experience from the very first step, businesses have a higher chance of getting customers to buy from their store. 

Understanding how people search helps businesses create a unique experience for them. No two customers shopping online have the exact same path to purchase. That’s why if you’re an online store owner, it’s so important to understand what you can do to customize the online journey for customers. 

With the enhancement in digital technology, it’s no surprise that today’s consumers are in control of their path to purchase. They’re open to exploring as many categories, brands, and products as they would like to.

3. Consumers Shop via Mobile

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Nearly half of consumers shop more on mobile than in-store (Ibotta, 2018).

It’s no secret that mobile shopping has been on the rise. If you plan on running a successful ecommerce website, you can’t afford to ignore mobile users and mobile shopping. Consumers are using their mobile devices for all steps of the buyer journey, and that includes various online shopping activities. As of the fourth quarter of 2018, desktop PCs accounted for roughly the same amount of global e-retail orders as smartphones. In terms of retail website visits however, smartphones took the lead, and was the number one device that people were using to visit retail websites. 

Mobile is undoubtedly the direction in which consumer habits are headed. In light of this, there’s a lot that you can do as a store owner to make sure that you keep mobile in mind when you’re working on your business. To start, you should make sure that your store has a user-friendly mobile app, or mobile website that your customers can access. Even if they don’t make the final purchase through their mobile devices, you should try to provide them with a comfortable and enjoyable experience. It’s your responsibility to make sure that you create a shopping experience that appeals to your customers. 

If you’d like to get to know more about mobile commerce, check out The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Commerce.

4. The Biggest Marketplace Worldwide

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Chinese platform Taobao is the biggest online marketplace, with a GMV of $515 billion (Statista, 2019). For comparison, Tmall and Amazon ranked second and third with $432 and $344 billion in annual third-party GMV respectively. 

To put this statistic into perspective, the top online marketplaces in the world sold $1.66 trillion in 2018. Marketplace sites like those operated by Alibaba, Amazon, and eBay accounted for more than 50 percent of global web sales in 2018. 

An ecommerce marketplace is a website where the products are provided by several third parties while the transactions are processed by the marketplace itself. The transaction is processed by the marketplace and then the order is fulfilled by the chosen retailer or dropshipper. And since ecommerce marketplaces list products from a number of different sellers, there is usually more variety and availability in terms of products, compared to online retail stores.

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Digital and mobile wallets are the preferred payment method among online shoppers worldwide. 44.5 percent of online shoppers paid using this method (Worldpay, 2020). Following that in second place are credit cards, and debit cards as the third most popular online payment method. 

Digital and mobile wallets, also known as eWallets, are an electronic device or online service that makes it possible to make electronic transactions. This includes online payments, and also in-person purchases. Some of the commonly known eWallets include Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal. 

If you have an online store, or are planning to start an ecommerce store, it’s important for you to consider your payment gateways. You need to always ensure that you provide your customers a secure and easy checkout experience. 

That aside, you should also keep in mind the location of your target audience. This way, you can ensure that the online payment methods that your store allows are the ones that they’re aware of and familiar with.

6.  Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Shopping Behavior

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One of the biggest shifts in shopping behavior this year has undoubtedly come from the impact of the coronavirus. 

With countries across the globe imposing strict lockdown measures in a bid to limit the spread of the virus, the number of consumers shopping online, especially for groceries, has skyrocketed.

According to a recent study, in March 2020, 42 percent of the US population purchased their groceries online at least once a week (GeekWire, 2020). This marks a stark increase from 22 percent just two years ago. Daily online grocery sales have also as much as doubled. 

But this is more than just a temporary boost. It’s also causing a mindset shift. Over half of online grocery shoppers say they’re now more likely to continue to shop online even after the pandemic. 

Experts say this is an “inflection point” for the online grocery shopping trend, and Amazon is likely to be the biggest beneficiary. Amazon has been the most popular platform for these shoppers, with six out of every ten doing their online grocery shopping with the ecommerce giant. In fact, demand has grown so much that orders for groceries on Amazon have increased by as many as 50 times.

7. Shoppers Expect to See New Products Constantly

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It comes as no surprise that the needs of shoppers are constantly growing. Online shoppers are in demand of new products constantly. In fact, 75 percent of consumers’ search queries each month are brand new (Salesforce, 2018). This goes to show that when people are browsing online, they’re actively searching for new products. On top of that, 69 percent of consumers say it’s important or very important to see new merchandise each time they visit a store or shopping site.

Ecommerce businesses need to keep up with the needs of consumers. The ecommerce industry is more dynamic than ever before, and retailers must evolve side by side to be able to succeed. Online retailers need to prepare to customize the shopping experience for their customers. By providing them with new products, they can enhance the shopping experience for their audience. Not only does this give the customers more variety when shopping, but also fewer reasons to go look somewhere else. By updating your product offerings, you could be staying a step ahead of your competition.

8. How Often Do People Shop Online?

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So we know by now that people are shopping online, but how often do they do it? 62 percent of online buyers shop at least once per month (Episerver, 2019). In addition to that 26 percent of online shoppers shop online once a week, and 3 percent claim to shop once a day. 

With so many people shopping online regularly or looking for products to buy online, shoppers find themselves in a state of indecision. Not only do they admit to spending time researching, but the same research shows that shoppers feel overwhelmed by the number of options they encounter when browsing. Around half of the online shoppers (46 percent) have failed to complete a purchase online because there were too many options to choose from.

Online businesses have the opportunity and the responsibility to smoothen the customer decision-making process. This can be done by streamlining digital commerce experiences that provide the customers with the information that they’re looking for to enable faster decision making. Brands can do this through a multi-step commerce journey. For instance, businesses can reach out to their customers through email, by giving them information on the latest offers, or communicate with them through social media channels. Assisting your customers can help them understand what they’re looking for, and improve their digital commerce journey.

9. Fastest Growing Ecommerce Categories During Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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The coronavirus pandemic sparked panic-buying in many countries all over the world both in in-person shops such as supermarkets and pharmacies as well as in ecommerce shops. 

As expected, essential items and in particular medical products saw a massive surge in online sales. A recent survey by Adobe revealed that sales for products such as hand sanitizers, gloves, and masks grew more than 800 percent over the first ten weeks of the year (Adobe, 2020). 

Toilet paper and over-the-counter drugs for flu, cold and pain also flew off the online shelves, with sales jumping by 231 percent and 217 percent respectively.

And with gyms shutting down and outdoor movement severely limited, the demand for fitness equipment has increased by 55 percent in just the first two weeks of March alone as more people look to exercise at home. 

Sales of home furnishing products are also on the rise because people are not only spending more time at home but also setting up a home office. In the US, sales for home improvement products have increased by 13 percent in early March compared to about a year ago.

10. Primary Reason for Online Shoppers to Abandon Their Carts

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Ask any online store owner and they’ll tell you what a nightmare abandoned carts are. There are so many questions that might come to your mind about abandoned carts – the why, the what, the where, and the how. 

According to recent online shopping statistics, 49 percent of cart abandonments are due to high extra costs, which can include anything from shipping to taxes and fees (Baymard, 2021). 

Nowadays, free shipping has become more of a necessity than an added advantage. Adding extra costs to the online shopping process, especially at the very last step, deter buyers from following through with their intended purchase. These costs are an immediate source of annoyance for online shoppers, who may see this as a lack of transparency. 

As an online store owner, the best way to deal with this is to offer full disclosure. It’s better to list all costs right from the beginning of the buyer’s journey. 

Another successful strategy is to bundle the extra cost of shipping into the product and then offer “free” shipping to the customer. At the end of the day, transparency is valued highly by online shoppers, and it’s crucial for your online store to be able to succeed. 

Other reasons for cart abandonment include the hassle of having to create an account, slow delivery times, and a long or complicated checkout process.


To wrap up, there’s no doubt that online shopping is quickly evolving and in the coming years, we’ll be seeing further development. If businesses want to survive in the competitive landscape that is today, they can’t afford to ignore their online presence. So make sure to keep these top 10 online shopping statistics in mind when you’re planning for your business strategy in 2021.

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Summary: Online Shopping Statistics

  1. An estimated 2.14 billion people worldwide purchase goods online.
  2. 63 percent of shopping occasions begin online.
  3. Nearly half of the consumers shop more on mobile than in-store.
  4. Chinese platform Taobao is the biggest online marketplace, with a GMV of 515 billion U.S. dollars.
  5. Digital/mobile wallet is the preferred payment method among online shoppers worldwide. 44.5 percent of online shoppers paid using this method.
  6. Because of the coronavirus, 42% of the US population bought groceries online in March 2020, nearly double the 22% in 2018.
  7. 75 percent of consumers’ search queries each month are brand new.
  8. 62 percent of online buyers shop at least once per month.
  9. Sales of virus protection-related products increased by 807 percent over the first ten weeks of 2020.
  10. The primary reason for online shoppers to abandon their carts is high extra costs. 49 percent of cart abandonments are because of this.

Want to Learn More?

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