(Click to view the HD version of the infographic)
Let’s face it.
2020 was a stellar year for e-commerce growth, regardless of how unprecedented it was. Can we expect the same from 2021? More specifically speaking, what can we expect from the upcoming peak season?
Using proprietary Machine Learning technology, Parcel Monitor’s research team has analyzed data from more than 700+ carriers around the world to come up with our second edition of holiday sales volume forecast. How will the e-commerce growth rate in Europe this year compare to the last? Let’s find out!
E-Commerce Growth to Slow Down During Peak Season 2021
Last year’s e-commerce boom in Europe was impressive, to say the least, with its effects more pronounced over the holiday season than in other months. While most European countries experienced a similar level of growth during this period (65% for France, 63% for Poland, 62% for Germany), the UK experienced a record-breaking growth of 85%.
Based on our projections, we foresee a significantly slower growth of 33% to 39% MoM and 44% to 54% YoY. There is no doubt that Brexit will be a key contributor to this possible decline; EU custom surcharges along with occasional shipment delays due to the new border controls may be strong enough factors for customers to turn away from shopping online.
Another major factor could be the return to physical retail as a result of brick-and-mortar stores gradually reopening. As of June 2021, there has been a 280% rise of in-store sales across Europe whereas online sales in the region decreased by 39% in comparison to January 2021.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday Are Losing Their Appeal
Black Friday, Cyber Monday (BFCM) Weekend has traditionally been characterised by the unusually high volume of e-commerce orders. In 2020, for instance, Europe as a region saw a 86% surge in sales during Black Friday alone, with the Netherlands topping the list with a 57% increase in its e-commerce transactions.
There is a chance that this will no longer be the case for BFCM 2021. We expect this year’s growth to be notably lower than both 2019 and 2020’s numbers, at around 54%.
Given the ongoing logistical challenges caused by COVID-19, consumers around the world have begun their holiday shopping as early as June. In fact, several big brands including Marks & Spencer and Next have stopped holding BFCM promotions due to the growing consumer cynicism regarding the value of these deals.
Expecting the Unexpected in the World of Retail
Change is the only constant in an industry as fast-paced as retail. With the advent of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) coupled with ever-changing consumer preferences, it is imperative that retailers are on the constant lookout for new trends and predictions.
Methodology: How Parcel Monitor Derives Holiday Projections
We collect more than 1 billion anonymized data points each year. To derive this projection, high-quality data from millions of parcels tracked from more than 700+ carriers have been analyzed.
Parcel Monitor’s research team has extensively analyzed the historical trend and growth patterns of e-commerce shipment volume throughout 2020 and 2021. For this holiday e-commerce forecast 2021, our projection was done as of October this year.
In our analysis, we took November and December 2021 as the peak season. For the Black Friday and Cyber Monday analysis, we compared the parcel volume growth between three weeks before Black Friday Cyber Monday and three weeks after Black Friday Cyber Monday.