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Ecommerce Statistics 2020 - What You Need to Know About the State of Online Retail

E-commerce Statistics 2020

A wide range of benefits come with shopping online. For many of us, online shopping is quicker, easier and much more convenient than going into a physical store. So it’s no surprise that the number of people doing their shopping online is on the rise. 

In this round up we share all of the most up-to-date facts, figures and statistics surrounding E-commerce, including how much the average person spends online, what percentage of retail sales online shopping accounts for and more. 

Our Ecommerce Statistics in a Nutshell
Want the quick version? Here are our quick findings with further detail within:

  • The most popular global ecommerce platform (based on web searches) is Shopify with a whopping 2,800,000 searches every month globally

  • 14.1% of all global retail sales in 2019 were made online

  • 81% of people in the UK are buying more online than they normally would as a direct result of the pandemic, with 66.8% of people in the USA doing the same


E-commerce vs shopping in-store (global statistics) 

Global retail purchases in 2019

  • Last year (2019), online sales accounted for 14.1% of all retail sales made around the world.
  • The total global spend on e-commerce sites in 2019 came to approximately $3.5 trillion.
  • The number of people shopping online worldwide has increased every year over the last 10 years, and is predicted to rise to a staggering $6.5 billion (£5 billion) by 2023


How has Coronavirus impacted online shopping habits?

We polled 1,008 people in the USA and 1,003 people in the UK over the course of October 2020 to identify how the pandemic has impacted their shopping. Here's what they told us:

  • 81.06% of adults in the UK say they are shopping more online as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic than they were before
  • This same figure is 66.83% in the USA
  • Only 16.35% of those in the UK feel their shopping has been unaffected by Covid, a figure that rises to 25.62% for those in the USA


Online shopping statistics in 2020

The Office for National Statistics’ most recent report shows the percentage of retail sales that are made online. As you can see from the graph, online shopping figures peaked significantly in May 2020, a few months after the Coronavirus pandemic caused many highstreet retailers to close their doors to the public. 

The percentage of retail sales made online from 2006 to 2020 (Source: Office for National Statistics

As you can see, in May 2020 online sales rose substantially, accounting for 32.8% of total retail sales that month. The number of purchases being made online then decreased over the following months. 

This May peak is highly unusual, given that over the last 10 years, online sales have only peaked during the month of November, likely as a result of Black Friday sales and Christmas shopping

Online searches containing the phrase “buy online” also appear to have peaked early on in the year (around March/April time) and then decreased each month for the last 6 months. However, with many countries now going into second wave lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more than likely that online sales will pick up as a result of many non-essential shops being forced to close. 

Average online searches containing “buy online” made between 2004 and 2020. Source: Keyword Finder

What are the most common methods of online shopping?

So now we know we know how popular online shopping is around the world, what are the statistics surrounding how we use e-commerce sites? 

  • In 2019, a study found that 53% of all online sales were made on mobile devices. 
  • The same study also observed that people are more likely to buy things like clothes and shoes on their mobile phones.
  • People were however, found to be far less likely to book flights or accommodation on their phones, showing a clear preference for making these purchases on a desktop.  


E-commerce Market Statistics 

Which countries have the biggest e-commerce markets? And what percentage of sales in these countries are made online? In this section we answer these questions, providing everything you need to know about the 2020 global e-commerce market. 

  • According to, China is by far the largest e-commerce market in the world. With annual online sales accounting for $672 billion, and e-commerce purchases accounting for 15.9% of all retail sales, China’s online retail market is rapidly growing and succeeding. 
  • The USA has the second largest e-commerce market, with an annual online sales total of $340 billion and e-commerce purchases accounting for 7.5% of all spending. This is not surprising given that the US is home to the e-commerce conglomerates Ebay and Amazon. 
  • The United Kingdom follows in third place, with an annual online sales total of $99 billion. However, if we look at the proportion of sales that are made online in the UK, the e-commerce market is in fact stronger than that of the USA. The percentage of sales made online in the UK is estimated to be currently 14.5%; significantly higher than the US’ 7.5%. 


Online Shopping Growth Acceleration

One thing we can be confident of is the fact that covid is likely to have accelerated the rate at which online shopping grows as a proportion of overall shopping. With stores closed across a number of countries and a fearfulness of many consumers to head to busy shops, this year may well prove to be the year that more “offline” shoppers started spending more online.