What’s driving US ecommerce growth in 5 charts

While retail sales growth is expected to slow this year, ecommerce sales will grow by double digits to reach $1.148 trillion, buoyed by online grocery, health and personal care, and online resale. Here are five charts on the categories, retailers, and channels driving ecommerce growth.

1. Digital grocery is the backbone of US ecommerce growth

Digital grocery will be one of the main contributors to ecommerce’s growth over the next five years, according to our “US Ecommerce by Category Forecast 2023” report.

While grocery delivery intermediary sales are growing at double-digit rates, per our forecast, the majority of US digital grocery sales are happening on grocers’ websites, according to Incisiv and Wynshop.

The success of online grocery will also boost retail media ad revenues as brands leverage grocers’ massive amounts of first-party data to better target consumers at the point of purchase.

2. Health and personal care will become a major ecommerce driver

Five categories will increase their share of US ecommerce sales between now and 2027, with food and beverage and health and personal care making the largest gains.

According to our “US Ecommerce by Category Forecast 2023” report, health and personal care will become a major ecommerce category as more consumers buy essential goods online.

Meanwhile, books, music, and video and computer and consumer electronics will decline the most as consumers buy a more diverse range of products online.

3. Category-driven retailers are growing fast

While Amazon, Walmart, Apple, and eBay will remain the top three US retail ecommerce companies by sales this year, more category-driven etailers like Carvana and Chewy are moving up the ranks.

Carvana has been up and down in recent years, according to our “Top 15 US Ecommerce Companies Forecast” report. In the years prior to the pandemic, Carvana’s sales grew by triple digits. But in 2022, growth stalled out and the company is now facing a marked drop in demand.

Still, there’s a lot of room for Carvana to grow, especially if it’s able to control costs and maintain sales amid a chaotic time for the rest of the auto industry.

4. Gen Z brings online resale to the mainstream

Despite (or maybe because of) economic challenges, US online fashion resale platform sales will continue to grow by double digits through 2026, according to our forecast, driven by growing adoption among consumers and increased participation from fashion brands.

Among consumers, Gen Z is the generation most likely to buy secondhand fashion online, with over half of Gen Zers reporting they purchased clothing via online resale channels, according to an October 2022 CivicScience survey. Brands looking to engage with Gen Z can use social channels like TikTok and Instagram to showcase products and educate consumers on the value of resale, as mentioned in our “US Online Fashion Resale 2023” report.

5. Product discovery is playing a larger part in online shopping

As platforms like TikTok and Instagram build out their commerce capabilities, more consumers will begin their online shopping journeys there. Future shoppers will be more driven by inspiration and discovery, and platforms will need to find ways to keep shoppers (especially younger ones) engaged.


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