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E-commerce accounts for over a third of total retail sales

E-commerce accounted for over a third of total retail sales in 2020, as the ongoing Covid-19 crisis changed the way consumers purchased goods and services, according to Optiseller.

The company says a greater use of AI assistance and a huge increase in mobile phone shopping is in store over the next year, with the boom in online shopping here to stay for some time yet.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives during 2020 and e-commerce is no exception," says chief operating officer for Optiseller, Richard Falconer. 

"By some estimates daily global online shopping has increased by 66%. In the UK alone e-commerce accounted for over a third of total retail sales during 2020," he says.

Falconer says consumer behaviour has seen a seismic shift with regards to e-commerce.  

"Lockdowns across the globe have accelerated online shopping as the high street shut down. People who never bought online before were forced to venture online," he says.

"Our analysis during Black Friday revealed that the types of goods being bought online had been shaped by the pandemic. Smart clothes and dresses were out, and slippers, comfy clothes and games consoles were in," he adds.

"Outdoor living items such as BBQs, fire pits and patio heaters and furniture also did very well as people were forced to stay at home. On the one hand people seem to have more disposable income due to saving on commuter costs and so forth but on the other people are nervous about their employment security," Falconer explains.
 
"It is vital that sellers have their data properly optimised for marketplaces such as eBay where item specifics are incredibly important for visibility on the platform.," he says.

"Filters are also very important across all marketplaces as people don't want to waste time searching for products; shoppers are demanding results in literally seconds and are extensively using filters to drill down to their specific choices."

Falconer says much will depend on the success of the vaccine and its impact on the pandemic and the economy. 

"However, we predict the online boom will continue as people's shopping habits have been irreversibly altered, and we also expect to see greater use of AI assistance, improved site search, more personalisation of the shopping experience and a significant shift towards mobile phone shopping," he says.

Optiseller is an e-commerce data platform that provides over 35,000 online retailers in over 40 countries