Last year, the retail industry faced countless uncertainties generating both positive and negative results and shopping trends.

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While non-essential retail was forced to close due to lockdowns, the e-commerce industry was accelerated at a rapid pace. Despite the unexpected online shopping boom, unique challenges of fulfillment, shipping delays, and concerns for workers’ health meant some businesses were prevented from experiencing sales growth. As vaccines roll outs continue and lockdown begins to slowly lift, the effects of the pandemic will continue to have a strong impact on sales and consumer shopping trends.


Expect AOV to increase throughout 2021:

Average Order Value will continue to drive key advertising investment decisions in 2021. Last year, shoppers made more purchases but with smaller basket sizes which dropped AOV across most verticals. With the economy trickling upward and in-store shopping making a comeback, we expect AOV to increase throughout the year.

Habits formed during the pandemic will become the norm:

The pandemic saw more people turning to e-commerce than ever before, including those who hadn’t previously shopped online. Whether it be purchasing groceries online or utilising click and collect options, the habits formed during the pandemic will continue.

Click trends should stabilise:

To alleviate workers in fulfilment and shipping, e-commerce giants like Amazon moved major shopping holidays, including Prime Day, to later in the year. These one-time shifts caused some changes to click trends across verticals which will likely return to pre-pandemic levels as shopping needs begin to normalise.

2021 holiday season projected to be the biggest one yet:

The pandemic did not slow down holiday retail sales. Last year’s gross holiday season sales reached US$185.88B and are projected to grow to US$206.88B this year as people begin to return to work and stores open for in-person holiday shopping.

For more insights on how the pandemic will impact global retail in 2021, download our latest ‘Pandemic Year in Review’ infographic.