What will ecommerce look like in 2021?

As we have previously mentioned, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed customers around the world to switch to online shopping, making online consumption the new normal in 2020.

The developed economies are experiencing an acceleration of this existing trend that started long before the beginning of the pandemic. Digitalization is also catching up in emerging markets, where ecommerce and home delivery services are becoming increasingly popular and are showing strong signs of a change in purchasing behavior. Anywhere around the globe, COVID-19 will have a lasting effect on people’s online shopping behaviors, making 2020 a turning point for the digitalization of the world.

Smaller merchants and traditional brick-and-mortar retailers had to undergo a digital transformation of their businesses so they could keep operating during the pandemic. This move of businesses going online is likely to continue in 2021. Consumers are also now more digitally adept than before, with a lot of people getting more comfortable with digital technology. Online users are also less afraid to buy things from brands they have never heard of, with 44% of consumers having tried new brands during the pandemic according to Arlington Research. This trend is also likely to continue in 2021.

International cross-border ecommerce also grew substantially this year with consumers more and more inclined to purchase from vendors outside of their home country. A study from eBay even showed that 96% of small businesses in the US export to an average of 17 different countries. Is cross-border ecommerce becoming the norm? With the rise of online users and consumers around the world, companies selling digital products will have an immense opportunity in emerging markets in 2021. Online shops from developed nations will increasingly look to sell their products and services in emerging markets. This international ecommerce expansion makes sense for a lot of online vendors as paid advertising might have reached full potential in their home market and growth opportunity is therefore limited. In order to keep the same level of profitability while continuing to grow, a lot of vendors will be looking outside of their home country; in markets that are less mature, where competition is less fierce and with better return on advertising spend. Online consumers are more and more demanding when it comes to their ecommerce experience. They want a clear customer journey that will allow them to buy the products they want quickly and easily. Online vendors will be looking for ways to speed up and optimize the checkout process. Cart abandonment rates will be huge for those not willing to adapt to the trend. Already today, according to Baymard, around 70% of online purchases are not completed on average. The checkout experience will therefore have to transform in order to meet customers’ expectations. More than ever before, online vendors will have to provide local customers with their preferred payment methods. On top of that, one solution that is becoming increasingly popular is to enable one-click checkout options like PayPal, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay and others. Single-click checkout payment methods will conquer ecommerce carts around the world in 2021, allowing vendors to improve their online checkout experience, take advantage of the boom in online shopping and decrease their cart abandonment rates. Businesses that are selling digital products and that want to expand into emerging markets are well positioned to compete on a global scale using Softline Ecommerce. Our all-in-one ecommerce solution makes cross-border digital sales easy and safe, so that online merchants can reach new customers and grow their business in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

If you want to conquer new markets successfully and find out what we can do together, please contact us on our website, via LinkedIn or email (


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