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Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the The Future of eCommerce: Emerging Technologies – US market including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

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What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

Emerging technology is shaping the way consumers shop, interact and explore brands and retailers online. COVID-19 has drastically accelerated the rate at which consumers of all ages are adopting more digital practices into their lives – nearly five years sooner than anticipated. The advancement and adoption of tech will continue to revolutionize the way consumers shop, engage and learn about brands online moving forward. It will provide highly personalized experiences and give consumers the ability to shop in more ways than ever before, including designing rooms with AR, browsing store aisles virtually and connecting with brand associates from their homes.

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.

In light of COVID-19, tech adoption accelerated nearly five years, meaning consumers and brands are more actively using available technologies and will continue to do so moving forward. Once nice-to-have tech options such as AR, digital showrooms and virtual consultations are now becoming must-haves for consumers across generations. Emerging tech is an integral aspect of ecommerce and consumers expect to use these capabilities to shop, connect and engage with brands online. It’s no longer about younger consumers using tech more than older consumers, as all generations have adapted versions of technology into their own shopping practices.
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
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Total US retail ecommerce sales and forecast, at current prices, 2015-25
    • Impact of COVID-19 on ecommerce and technology
      • Figure 2: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on ecommerce and emerging technology, December 2020
    • Opportunities and Challenges
    • Quick adoption of tech leads to digital engagement opportunities
    • Connecting local businesses and neighborhoods
    • Protecting privacy
    • Bring the in-store experience online
  3. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • Full steam ahead
    • A river of innovation moves down the pipeline
    • 5G drives tech advancement
  4. Market Size and Forecast

    • Strong ecommerce market followed by tech growth spurt
      • Figure 3: Total US retail ecommerce sales and forecast, at current prices, 2015-25
    • Macroeconomic factors
    • Lingering unemployment leaves consumers feeling blue
      • Figure 4: Unemployment and underemployment, January 2007-November 2020
      • Figure 5: Consumer Sentiment Index, January 2007-October 2020
    • Tightening the financial belt
      • Figure 6: Disposable personal income change from previous period, January 2007-October 2020
    • Impact of COVID-19 on ecommerce and technology
      • Figure 7: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on ecommerce and emerging technology, December 2020
    • Lockdown
    • Re-emergence
    • Recovery
    • COVID-19: US context
    • Learnings from the last recession
  5. Market Factors

    • Unemployment causes consumers to seek out value from their purchases
      • Figure 8: Unemployment and underemployment, January 2007-November 2020
    • Digital opportunities keep people connected
    • A fast-moving stream of innovation
    • Securing privacy in the digital realm
    • The detrimental costs of technology
  6. Market Opportunities

    • Rapid tech adoption
    • Local businesses leverage tech
    • Using social media to drive digital connections
      • Figure 9: Instagram Shops
    • 5G Ready
  7. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Facebook: Through the (smart)glasses
    • Showrooms on display
    • Packaging delight
    • Gamifying the world of retail
    • Snapping up exclusive launches
  8. Competitive Strategies

    • Facebook takes a peek at smart glasses
    • Blue Nile displays its digital showrooms
    • Amazon gives its packaging a base for engagement
      • Figure 10: Amazon packaging
    • Interior design builds in the gaming world
      • Figure 11: Design Home platform
    • Retailers reach consumers in a Snapchat
      • Figure 12: Jordan Brand Snapchat fashion collection
  9. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Consumers are curious about new tech
    • Tech helps consumers blend the physical and the digital worlds
    • Consumers want ease and convenience first
    • Building online communities through tech
  10. Consumer Trend Drivers and Emerging Technology

    • All drivers contribute to ecommerce tech success
    • Technology
      • Figure 13: Technology
    • Wellbeing
      • Figure 14: Wellbeing
    • Surroundings
      • Figure 15: Surroundings
    • Rights
      • Figure 16: Rights
    • Identity
      • Figure 17: Identity
    • Value
      • Figure 18: Value
    • Experience
      • Figure 19: Experiences
  11. Consumers’ Comfort with Technology

    • Curiosity is in the air
      • Figure 20: Familiarity with technology, October 2020
      • Figure 21: Amazon’s Cook Along with Alexa
    • Connect with younger consumers through tech
      • Figure 22: Familiarity with technology, by generation, October 2020
    • Parents find an assist they need through tech
      • Figure 23: Familiarity with technology, by parental status, October 2020
    • Bring Hispanic consumers online by using emerging tech
      • Figure 24: Familiarity with technology, by Hispanic heritage, October 2020
  12. How Technology Is Used

    • Meshing the physical and digital worlds
      • Figure 25: Technologies used while shopping, October 2020
    • Scanning vs. Visual Tech
      • Figure 26: Scanning Technologies used while shopping, by generation, October 2020
    • Shopping vs. Leisure Activities
      • Figure 27: Tech used for shopping and leisure activities, October 2020
  13. Motivations and Barriers

    • Motivations
    • Tech drives beyond experiences
      • Figure 28: Motivations for using new tech, October 2020
    • Consumers crave comfort
      • Figure 29: Motivations for using new tech, by generation, October 2020
    • Seeking more than practical, tactical brilliance
      • Figure 30: Motivations for using new tech, by generation, October 2020
    • Barriers
    • Privacy concerns linger on
      • Figure 31: Barriers to using tech, October 2020
    • Younger consumers face being priced-out of experiences
      • Figure 32: Barriers to using tech, by generation, October 2020
  14. Attitudes toward Shopping Technology

    • Consumers need to see the benefits of technology
      • Figure 33: Attitudes toward shopping technology, October 2020
    • Younger consumers want to engage with brands
      • Figure 34: Attitudes toward shopping technology, by generation, October 2020
      • Figure 35: FENTY digital consultation
    • Tech aids in settling frustrations
      • Figure 36: Attitudes toward shopping online, October 2020
    • Develop a simple system for consumers to connect
      • Figure 37: Attitudes toward shopping online, by generation, October 2020
    • Help consumers know what they don’t know
      • Figure 38: Attitudes toward elements of ecommerce, October 2020
  15. Future Applications

    • Transfer the in-store experience to the online world
      • Figure 39: Future online experiences, October 2020
    • Equipping parents properly
      • Figure 40: Future online experiences, by parental status, October 2020
    • Bolstering knowledge leads to boost in confidence
      • Figure 41: Online shopping improvements, October 2020
    • Showing off values
      • Figure 42: Online shopping improvements, by generation, October 2020
  16. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

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

      • Figure 43: Technologies used while shopping, by product, October 2020
      • Figure 44: Future online experiences, by product purchased, October 2020

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

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