Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the key elements in ecommerce in the U.S,  including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

The pandemic spurred on consumers’ adoption of online shopping, with growth rates over 30% in 2020. Consumers gravitated to online shopping as a vast majority tried to avoid in-store shopping as much as they could during the year.

The key elements of ecommerce discussed throughout this report evolved from trends in consumer behavior and retailer offerings within the ecommerce market. Brands and retailers that want to build strong relationships with consumers and provide them with an enjoyable online experience can leverage these elements and the opportunities within. Each of the four elements play a different role during the shopping journey, but together, they craft an engaging and elevated ecommerce journey.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and the ecommerce market.
  • How a down economy causes consumers to seek value throughout their shopping journey.
  • Each element’s role during the online shopping experience.
  • How select categories are adopting the key elements.

Covered in this report

Elements discussed in depth: Convenience, seamless shopping, personalization, emerging technology and more.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Katie Yackey, a leading analyst in the Ecommerce sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

As consumers continue to do more shopping online, each of the key elements of ecommerce will play increasingly larger roles. These elements construct an elevated and enjoyable experience for consumers, helping them find products fit for their needs and feel connected to brands as they shop online. Brands can leverage these components to build bridges to meet consumers where they are and give them the experiences they crave. As they do so, they can foster relationships with consumers, keep them engaged and involved throughout their entire path to purchase.

Katie Yackey
Ecommerce Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
          • COVID-19: Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Market overview
                  • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of ecommerce retail sales, at current prices, 2015-25
                • Impact of COVID-19 on ecommerce
                  • Figure 2: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on ecommerce, February 2021
                • Opportunities and Challenges
                  • Target new set of consumers entering the online marketplace
                    • A focus on convenience
                      • Capitalize on the possibilities of technology
                      • The Market – Key Takeaways

                        • eCommerce grows to encompass more share of total retail
                          • Key elements elevate the online experience
                            • Catering to a new consumer group online
                              • Enhancing all the elements with technology
                              • Market Size and Forecast

                                • eCommerce growth soars throughout 2020 and beyond
                                  • Figure 3: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of ecommerce retail sales, at current prices, 2015-25
                                  • Figure 4: Total US retail ecommerce sales and forecast, at current prices, 2015-25
                                • Macroeconomic factors
                                  • Unemployment recovery leads consumers to seek out value
                                    • Figure 5: Unemployment and underemployment, January 2007-December 2020
                                  • Lagging disposable personal income
                                    • Figure 6: Disposable personal income change from previous period, January 2007-November 2020
                                  • Impact of COVID-19 on ecommerce
                                    • Figure 7: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on ecommerce, February 2021
                                  • Lockdown
                                    • Re-emergence
                                      • Recovery
                                        • COVID-19: US context
                                          • Learnings from the last recession
                                          • Market Factors

                                            • Lagging confidence keeps consumers holding back on spending
                                              • Figure 8: Consumer Sentiment Index, January 2007- January 2021
                                            • New consumer groups enter the online marketplace
                                              • Building a strong ecommerce experience with technology
                                                • Incoming barriers to personalization
                                                  • Sound environmental practices for a better future
                                                  • Market Opportunities

                                                    • Offering shopping assistance specifically for older generations
                                                      • Focus on delivering the omnichannel experience
                                                        • Using tech to enhance all the elements
                                                        • Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

                                                          • Amazon redefines convenient shopping; Instacart welcomes new shoppers
                                                            • Retailers partner together for a seamless shopping experience; Costco joins the curbside revolution
                                                              • Fashion and beauty implement personalization
                                                                • Nike goes hiking with tech
                                                                • Competitive Strategies

                                                                  • Understanding convenience with Amazon and Instacart
                                                                    • Figure 9: Instacart Senior Support Service
                                                                  • Delivering seamlessness with Kroger, Walgreens, and Costco
                                                                    • Offering personalization with Sephora and Stitch Fix
                                                                      • Figure 10: Stitch Fix Style Shop
                                                                    • Utilizing emerging technologies with Nike
                                                                      • Figure 11: Nike digital Smith Rock State Park experience
                                                                  • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                                    • Providing consumers with tailored opportunities
                                                                      • Keeping consumers’ interest in one convenient location
                                                                        • Store functions help build confidence in online purchases
                                                                          • Sharing data can lead to an elevated experience
                                                                            • Using tech to support the elements and cultivate relationships
                                                                            • Consumer Trend Drivers and Key Elements

                                                                              • Crafting an experience online with Trend Drivers
                                                                                • Technology
                                                                                  • Figure 12: Technology Trend Driver and associated Pillars
                                                                                • Rights
                                                                                  • Figure 13: Rights Trend Driver and associated Pillars
                                                                                • Value
                                                                                  • Figure 14: Value Trend Driver and associated Pillars
                                                                                • Experiences
                                                                                  • Figure 15: Experiences Trend Driver and associated Pillars
                                                                              • The Key Elements of eCommerce and the Online Shopping Experience

                                                                                • Impacting each phase of the consumer journey
                                                                                  • Figure 16: Key Elements of eCommerce
                                                                                  • Figure 17: Importance of key elements when shopping online, October 2020
                                                                                • Role of Key Elements When Browsing Online
                                                                                  • Guiding consumers with personalization and a seamless experience
                                                                                    • Figure 18: Importance of key elements when browsing products online, October 2020
                                                                                  • Understanding each gender’s approach to browsing
                                                                                    • Figure 19: Importance of key elements when browsing products online, by gender, October 2020
                                                                                  • Role of Key Elements When Researching Products Online
                                                                                    • Using tech to bring confidence to shopping online
                                                                                      • Figure 20: Importance of key elements when researching products online, October 2020
                                                                                    • Use familiar tactics to help older consumers understand new processes
                                                                                      • Figure 21: Importance of key elements when researching products online, by generation, October 2020
                                                                                    • Role of Key Elements When Purchasing Online
                                                                                      • Putting the elements together for a superb purchase process
                                                                                        • Figure 22: Importance of key elements when purchasing products online, October 2020
                                                                                      • Blending tech and convenience at checkout for Gen Z
                                                                                        • Figure 23: Importance of key elements when purchasing products online, by generation, October 2020
                                                                                    • Category Snapshot

                                                                                      • Leveraging key elements to drive more online shopping
                                                                                        • Figure 24: Products purchased online, October 2020
                                                                                      • Finding fit, comfort and style online
                                                                                        • Figure 25: Bonobos elevates the online shopping experience
                                                                                      • Improving the home through online features
                                                                                        • Figure 26: Ikea brings showroom to app
                                                                                      • Online grocery retailers deliver groceries, and convenience
                                                                                        • Figure 27: Instacart brings convenience to shoppers
                                                                                    • Attitudes toward Convenience

                                                                                      • Collecting consumer interest under one roof
                                                                                        • Figure 28: Attitudes toward convenient shopping options, October 2020
                                                                                      • Online oasis of discovery
                                                                                        • Figure 29: Attitudes toward convenience shopping options, by generation, October 2020
                                                                                        • Figure 30: Outdoor Voices dance session
                                                                                      • Brands as a partner with all the right tools
                                                                                        • Figure 31: Important convenient factors, October 2020
                                                                                      • Flexible payment options open up opportunities for a variety of consumers
                                                                                        • Figure 32: Important convenient factors, by HHI, October 2020
                                                                                      • Better search capabilities reassure consumers
                                                                                        • Figure 33: TURF Analysis – Important convenient factors, October 2020
                                                                                    • Attitudes toward Seamlessness

                                                                                      • Implementing store functions to bolster purchase confidence
                                                                                        • Figure 34: Attitudes toward physical stores, October 2020
                                                                                      • Bringing the store to the consumer, wherever they might be
                                                                                        • Figure 35: Attitudes toward physical stores, by generation, October 2020
                                                                                      • Establish various pick-up options
                                                                                        • Figure 36: Pick-up and purchase options, October 2020
                                                                                      • Younger consumers prefer flexible payment options
                                                                                        • Figure 37: Pick-up and purchase options, by generation, October 2020
                                                                                    • Attitudes toward Personalization

                                                                                      • Demonstrate the benefits of sharing
                                                                                        • Figure 38: Information willing to provide, October 2020
                                                                                      • Consumers offer up style; older consumers offer their number
                                                                                        • Figure 39: Information willing to provide, generation z and millennials by gender, October 2020
                                                                                        • Figure 40: Information willing to provide, generation x and baby boomers by gender, October 2020
                                                                                      • Using tools for personalization
                                                                                        • Figure 41: Personalization comfortability, October 2020
                                                                                      • Younger consumers are more eager to share
                                                                                        • Figure 42: Personalization comfortability, by generation, October 2020
                                                                                    • Attitudes toward Emerging Technologies

                                                                                      • Elevating the shopping experience and cultivating relationships
                                                                                        • Figure 43: Attitudes toward shopping technology, October 2020
                                                                                      • Focus on younger consumers, but don’t leave older consumers out of the mix
                                                                                        • Figure 44: Attitudes toward shopping technology, by generation, October 2020
                                                                                        • Figure 45: Turner Classic Movies How-To video
                                                                                      • Consumers arm themselves with tech for decision-making
                                                                                        • Figure 46: Preferred use of technology, October 2020
                                                                                        • Figure 47: Larroudé
                                                                                      • Implementing technologies to craft a well-rounded social commerce experience
                                                                                        • Figure 48: Preferred use of technology, by generation, October 2020
                                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                      • Data sources
                                                                                        • Forecast
                                                                                          • Consumer survey data
                                                                                            • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                                                                • Terms
                                                                                                • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                                    • Figure 49: Total US retail ecommerce sales and forecast, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2015-25
                                                                                                • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                                    • Figure 50: Importance of key elements when shopping online, by generation, October 2020

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