Last year, businesses faced countless uncertainties generating both positive and negative results on U.S. retail.
While many stores closed for statewide lockdowns, online retailers saw surges in sales and orders that accelerated growth expectancies for the year. Despite the unexpected shopping boom, unique challenges of fulfillment, shipping delays, and concerns for workers’ health kept some businesses from capitalizing on the accelerated sales growth. As states begin to roll out vaccines and foot traffic increases, the effects of the pandemic will continue to have a strong impact on sales and shopping trends moving forward.
This year is already critical for U.S. retail growth in the following areas:
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.
E-commerce could drop almost 26 percent:
Online shopping in the U.S. witnessed historic growth last year, almost doubling in sales from 2019. These inflated levels are expected to normalize this year as projections anticipate e-commerce sales to drop to 6.1 percent as in-store shopping returns.
Click trends should stabilize.
To alleviate workers in fulfillment 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 normalize.
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 $185.88B and are projected to grow to $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, view our ‘Pandemic Year in Review’ Infographic in our Resource Center.