Global shoppers are expected to spend 20% more online in 2021 than they did last year, according to a new Adobe report, likely adding pressure to supply chains as retailers struggle to keep up with a surge in demand.
Driven by demand in the United States, China and Britain, ecommerce sales will total an estimated $4.2 trillion this year versus $3.5 billion in 2020, according to Adobe, which gathers direct transaction data in over 80 countries. Online sales of items from toys and video games to furniture were $876 billion in the first quarter of this year.
But even as stores reopen in some parts of the western world, the Adobe data shows that after more than a year under lockdown people have become accustomed to ordering goods via their laptops or smartphones. The firm’s analysis echoes patterns predicted by retailers and vendors including Walmart, Kraft Heinz and Mondelez.
This spells bad news for companies that rely on physical stores, which were already on the decline because of Amazon.com, Alibaba and other ecommerce giants.
In America, online sales surged 39% to about $200 billion in the first quarter, with growth spiking in the three weeks following President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.