Top 6 e-commerce trends in 2021 for your inspiration

Now online shopping is one of the most popular digital activities worldwide. Providing consumers with a fast and convenient way to make purchases, e-commerce has become the most flourishing industry during the COVID-19 disease.

According to Grand View Research, the global e-commerce market size reached over $9 trillion in 2019. Thanks to the growing use of smartphones and the internet, it is expected to increase to $27.15 trillion by 2027.

To gain a competitive advantage and generate revenue, you should move your business online if you have not already done it. In one of our previous articles, we’ve considered how to build an e-commerce site and how much it costs.

In this post, you will explore e-commerce trends for 2021. You will also see how you can attract and engage the audience with the help of cutting-edge technologies.

E-commerce industry during and after COVID-19


With partial and complete lockdowns, coronavirus has shown a great opportunity to buy and order goods while not leaving homes. During the outbreak, the fortune of Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and owner, grew by nearly $24 billion.

The impact of COVID-19 is going to be long-term, which means that it will continue boosting the sector even after the end of the pandemic.

Experts predict that 100,000 retail stores will be closed by 2025. Most categories will be affected. For instance, consumer electronics could see 12,000 closures while home furnishings and groceries are projected to have 11,000 closures each (MarketWatch).

Customer shopping behavior is changing: people enjoy the flexibility to purchase products from any place in the world, comfort and safety of contactless transactions, as well as the opportunity to view multiple reviews and ratings.

However, what is the future of the e-commerce industry after coronavirus? How can you stand out from competitors, improve user satisfaction, and raise the conversion rate? We’ve collected the key e-commerce trends in 2021 for your inspiration.

The main e-commerce development trends in 2021

1. Rise of mobile shopping

Mobile commerce has become increasingly popular in the past several years. Analysts at eMarketer estimate that online retail sales were valued at $2.3 trillion in 2017, with the mobile share of nearly 60%, or $1.4 trillion. In 2021, m-commerce is poised to reach $3.5 trillion, making up almost 73% of internet shopping.

Take a look at these astonishing statistics on mobile shopping:

  • Analysts say the global mobile retail revenue could reach $3.56 in 2021 (Statista).
  • As of April 2020, 51% of shoppers employ their mobile phones to purchase products online (Datareportal, 2020).
  • Nearly 60% of customers say the ability to buy goods via mobile devices is an essential factor when choosing a company (Google, Global Retail Study 2019).

With these impressive figures in mind, you, as an e-commerce business owner or executive, should prepare a mobile-first strategy. When the site looks great on all screens and devices, consumers are much more likely to interact with your brand. This will help you attract more users and generate higher income.

Another option you should consider is building a mobile solution. Datareportal reports that now 67% of consumers use smartphone shopping applications. Having a mobile app is very convenient: instant access, fast search, an engaging customer experience with push notifications and simple mobile payments.



2. Increased use of voice shopping

Voice shopping is one of the key e-commerce trends for 2021, which has quickly gained popularity since Amazon’s Echo was launched in 2014. At the end of 2017, 13% of digital assistant owners in the USA said they were purchasing products with their voices. Analysts at OC&C Strategy Consultants predict that this number will increase to 55% in 2022.

However, a voice-based search doesn’t offer visual experience. Instead, it requires goods to be chosen by providing a verbal description, which significantly restricts the scope of browsing. As a result, 70% of customers use voices when they exactly know what product they want to buy.

Therefore, food groceries, electronics, and homewares are the most common categories in voice commerce. This means that you should ensure convenience consumers are seeking by providing them with easily accessible information.

3. Artificial intelligence

As one of the most important e-commerce trends for 2021, artificial intelligence is quickly becoming introduced in multiple sectors, including online shopping. A study by Juniper Research forecasted that the worldwide spending on AI software solutions would reach $7.3 billion per annum by 2022, growing from $2 billion in 2018.

Experts predict that retailer spending in 2022 will be shared in the following way:

  • 54% will be invested in customer service and sentiment analytics.
  • 30% will be spent on automated marketing supported by artificial intelligence.
  • 16% will be invested in AI-based demand forecasting and planning.

Juniper also expects that retail companies will employ AI to create new product ranges and tailored promotional offers. “Retailers are looking to replicate the success of Amazon in making AI a core part of their operations, with retailers increasingly turning to solutions such as AI-optimised pricing and discounts, as well as demand forecasting.” —Nick Maynard, a research author.

With artificial intelligence software, you can:

  • provide users with the personalized shopping experience
  • optimize product pricing and discounting
  • better understand consumer reactions to goods and purchases
  • improve customer satisfaction by connecting shopping data with real-time insights
  • automate customer support with AI-enabled chatbots (since the use of chatbots is rapidly growing, it can be considered as a separate e-commerce trend for 2021 and beyond).

Natori, a leading women’s fashion design and manufacturing brand, used an artificial intelligence platform to launch successful digital marketing campaigns. Before using this application, the company’s social media activities were limited to organic posts created by in-house PR managers.

AI technology allowed Natori to find new audiences on Facebook and Instagram, as well as make smarter choices for online ad spending. As a consequence, Natori’s social media revenue grew by 76% in the first six months. Furthermore, the retailer saw an 84% increase in holiday-related conversions.

4. Augmented reality

Widespread integration of AR technology is one of the main parts of the e-commerce digital transformation. In 2018, ABI Research predicted that more than 120,000 stores across the globe would employ AR smart glasses by 2022.

When browsing goods on the internet, people cannot visualize them. Augmented reality bridges this gap, allowing consumers to see and perceive products before making a purchase, replacing in-person shopping experience.

Therefore, businesses that use AR solutions will better meet customer expectations, increase brand loyalty, and boost sales. "The relative ease of integrating AR into existing mobile commerce platforms and the impact this can have on the user experience will largely drive customer demand." — Nick Finill, senior analyst at ABI Research.

Analysts at Gartner forecast that this year 100 million shoppers worldwide will use AR technology when shopping. According to the research by 1Digital Agency, 35% of customers say they will make online purchases more if they have the opportunity to virtually try on a product. Another 22% of users are less willing to go to a brick-and-mortar store if augmented reality is enabled in their favorite e-commerce platform.

Burrow, a furniture company, developed a mobile application with ARKit — an augmented reality framework — to allow users to visualize how various items will fit in their rooms, customizing and placing 3D models.

Tessa Wuertz, Director of Marketing & Partnerships, efelle.com , a U.S. e-commerce and digital marketing agency, said: “We are expecting a lot more businesses utilizing AR for their products and businesses — so much so that it will become more standard in e-commerce and social media platforms. We’re seeing it put to use with larger companies, but I think we’re soon going to start seeing it become mainstream for businesses of all sizes.”

5. Personalization

Epsilon research found that 80% of customers are more willing to buy from a company when it offers personalized customer experiences.

E-commerce personalization means providing personal user experiences on apps and websites by delivering specific content, marketing emails, tailored recommendations, etc. based on shopping behavior, search history, purchase history, and other data. Thanks to this, you will boost user engagement and increase the conversion rate.

A few years ago Accenture surveyed over 25,000 shoppers worldwide and 2,000 in the USA, investigating their opinions in personal, tech-driven experiences. Analysts revealed that:

  • 41% of customers preferred to switch brands because of the lack of trust and poor personalization.
  • 43% of U.S. shoppers reported they would like to buy goods from businesses, which deliver personalized user experiences.
  • 31% of consumers said they especially value services that automatically explore their needs and preferences to provide tailored recommendations.

ASOS, a British famous clothing retail company, uses personalization to improve user satisfaction and retain clients. By simply asking online shoppers whether they are shopping for men or women, the system memorizes the choice to provide more convenience. When a customer again visits the website, he or she is automatically redirected based on the indicated preferences.

To deliver personalized user experience, you can enable features such as user activity tracking, dynamic content generator, in-depth behavior analytics and customer segmentation.

6. Chatbots

The integration of chatbots is one of the most important e-commerce industry trends for 2021 and beyond. The world’s chatbot market is predicted to reach $1.34 billion by 2024, according to a new report by Global Market Insights. Experts at Juniper forecast that the use of this software solution will allow companies to save more than $8 billion per annum by 2022.

As a powerful marketing and automation tool, a chatbot enables online stores to ensure 24/7 customer support, send instant answers on frequently asked questions, and quickly process user requests. Adding artificial intelligence, you will also be able to deliver tailored advice.

Considering practical examples, Nike incorporated a chatbot by bringing the company’s unique ID platform to Facebook Messenger through AI. The program allowed consumers to create their own shoe design styles and search for information. As a result of a conversational marketing campaign, Nike increased the conversions by 4 times.

Wrapping it up

The e-commerce industry is rapidly transforming under the influence of innovative tools and technologies. Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, mobile apps, chatbots, and voice assistants are being widely adopted by retail companies to build customer loyalty, boost productivity, and generate higher revenues.

When receiving an engaging user experience, consumers are more likely to return to a brand and make purchases. To gain a competitive advantage, you should analyze your existing online processes and define what can be improved.

For instance, if your business aims to enhance customer service and increase sales, you should consider developing a mobile application. Or if you are having hundreds of leads per month and your conversion rate is suffering due to large amounts of work, you can incorporate chatbots and/or employ AI software.

In case you are going to create an e-commerce website, we recommend that you read our case studies to see what time you may need to launch it, what features you should include, and how our software engineers address technical challenges:

If you want to get a project consultation, you are welcome to contact our team. Our specialists will get back to you within a working day and help resolve them. This service is free of charge.

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