Over half of retail spend will be online post-COVID

Post-pandemic, online shopping will account for over half of retail sales globally; plus, 72 per cent of shoppers say that online shopping came to their rescue in 2020 and nearly three-quarters say eCommerce would be more important to them in 2021.

This is according to Wunderman Thompson Commerce’s Future Shopper Report 2021 – which surveyed over 28,000 consumers across 17 countries on their current and future shopping habits.

One of the retail winners following COVID-19 was marketplaces, with 42 per cent of all online spend globally going to the likes of Amazon, Alibaba,, Mercado Libre and eBay. While their dominance is frightening to some, many consumers seem unconcerned – with two-thirds (64 per cent) saying they are excited by the prospect of buying everything through one retailer or marketplace in future.

Hugh Fletcher, Global Head of Consultancy and Innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce, said: “eCommerce can no longer be treated as the supplementary sales channel. Global shoppers have clearly stated that, in the future, it will be their primary channel for retail purchasing. For some organisations, and particularly marketplaces, they are reaping the rewards of investing in a strong online presence, while the news has been littered with stories of businesses who have not identified these changing demands going bust.

“Amazon continues to be the leader of the retail pack in the West, but it is facing increasing pressure from consumers to be more ethical and from competitors who are investing in their own direct-to-consumer offerings, digital marketplaces, innovations and social media platforms. Couple this with the fact that COVID-19 has weakened brand loyalty, and serious challenges remain in the sector – it’s no longer enough to just have an online offering that reaches customers on one or two channels and to expect long-term ROI.”

Interestingly, this report stated that 41 per cent of respondents said they are frightened about shopping instore in the wake of COVID-19. Consumers are demanding integrated omni-channel offerings from retailers and brands.

What’s more, two-thirds (64 per cent) of global shoppers say they prefer to shop with brands that have both an online and offline presence. And their expectations need to be met, with close to three-quarters (73 per cent) saying retailers need to get better at giving them the products, service and experience they expect.

Mr Fletcher added: “2021 and beyond will usher in an era of more diverse online offerings, with marketplaces, direct-to-consumer brand sites and social commerce all having a key role to play. Businesses must ensure that this more complex online landscape complements their overall retail offering which needs to span digital and physical.”