US Ecommerce Forecast 2021

Online Sales Continue to Grow by Double Digits

Executive Summary

After a tumultuous 2020, retail sales will see a bump in 2021 as the economy reopens and consumers are ready to spend. Both brick-and-mortar and online sales will benefit from pent-up consumer demand, with in-store growing 6.3% and ecommerce growing 17.9%.

How has the economic recovery affected our total US retail forecast?

In January 2020, we forecast that 2020 total retail sales would grow 2.8% year over year (YoY). That forecast was revised to a 10.5% decline to account for the shock that should have come from pandemic-induced lockdowns. However, with retailers quickly shifting their businesses online, 2020 sales grew by 3.4%. We expect to see total retail sales grow 7.9% in 2021, as pent-up demand is projected to peak.

What is the breakdown between ecommerce and brick-and-mortar sales?

US consumers will spend $933.30 billion on ecommerce in 2021, up 17.9% YoY, and equaling 15.3% of total retail sales. Brick-and-mortar retail spending will grow 6.3% in 2021, to $5.149 trillion, the strongest growth rate seen since 2011.

Will the accelerated shift to online purchases continue past the pandemic?

Ecommerce sales will continue to grow at a healthy clip, reaching 23.6% of total retail sales by 2025 versus 11.0% in 2019. We expect behaviors like click-and-collect usage will continue to grow, reaching $140.96 billion in sales by 2024. Retailers will continue to connect with consumers across the shopping journey: Social commerce sales will be up 35.8% to $36.62 billion this year, and about one in four digital buyers will use a buy now, pay later (BNPL) service.

Which product categories are continuing to see the fastest growth online?

In 2021, only apparel and accessories will continue to outpace its 2020 growth, up 23.1%. Furniture, food and beverage, and health and personal care are the only other categories we forecast will grow more than 20% YoY in 2021.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report explores US ecommerce spending, highlighting our recent forecasts and how the pandemic continues to impact retail sales.

KEY STAT: US ecommerce sales are projected to continue to grow by double digits, up 17.9% in 2021 to $933.30 billion. Ecommerce penetration will continue to increase, more than doubling from 2019 to 23.6% in 2025.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. US Retail, Ecommerce, Mcommerce, and Social Commerce Sales
  3. US Ecommerce Sales by Product Category
  1. US Top 15 Ecommerce Companies
  2. US Ecommerce Buyers
  3. Key Takeaways
  1. Read Next
  2. Media Gallery

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Suzy Davidkhanian


Blake Droesch
Junior Analyst
Brian Lau
Digital Apprentice
Cindy Liu
Senior Forecasting Analyst