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2020 Proved an Enormous Year for E-Commerce Growth with Lessons for 2021

All signs pointed to 2020 being an unprecedented year of growth for e-commerce and, according to Digital Commerce 360, those signs were very telling. By the outlet’s estimates, consumers spent $861.12 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2020, up an incredible 44% year-over-year (YoY); the highest annual U.S. e-commerce growth in at least two decades and nearly triple the 15.1% jump in 2019.

Online’s share of total retail sales has steadily risen – with e-commerce penetration hitting 21.3% in 2020, up from 15.8% in 2019, according to estimates from Digital Commerce 360. The more than five-percentage point gain in e-commerce penetration is by far the biggest YoY jump for U.S. retail sales ever recorded.

All the growth in retail came from e-commerce, with online sales accounting for 101% of all gains in retail in 2020. This means sales through all other channels – stores, catalogs, and call centers – declined, marking the first time in history that e-commerce sales accounted for all retail sales gains.

This explosive e-commerce growth – driven in part by the COVID-19 pandemic – and an unrivaled peak retail shopping season created visible stresses on the supply chain in 2020, leading to an extraordinary carrier capacity crunch. The significant increase in parcel shipping during peak season put a strain on every part of the shipping chain, all the way down to the last-mile, leaving many businesses to contend with never-before-seen peak delivery surcharges and shipping delays.

While many merchants had to shift supply chain strategies to effectively meet customer demands in the face of these obstacles, the unique challenges of 2020 resulted in valuable lessons learned that retail shippers can leverage now to properly prepare for ongoing supply chain disruptions in 2021.

Logistyx President, Ken Fleming recently spoke with Digital Commerce 360 to discuss the challenges retailers endured during last year’s holiday season and how they can prepare for another unprecedented season in 2021. Read Ken’s full interview with Digital Commerce 360.

To learn how you can improve your omnichannel shipping strategy to take advantage of e-commerce growth and prepare for ongoing supply chain disruptions, contact us today.