It’s that time of year again. Retailers are getting ready for the biggest holiday shopping season with Black Friday sales, Cyber Monday deals, and Christmas coming up.
So how will peak season look like for online retail this year? Using proprietary Machine Learning technology and by analyzing the millions of parcel data on our platform, Parcel Monitor is out with our very first holiday shopping e-commerce forecast for 2021. Will e-commerce growth surpass last year’s volume? Read on to find out!
E-commerce growth during peak season is expected to slow down in 2021
US holiday shopping season in 2020 saw a record-breaking growth of 63% in e-commerce volume compared to the other periods within the year. It is no surprise since the pandemic has driven US consumers to shop online more than ever before.
Based on our projections, we expect the 2021 online holiday sales period to have a slightly slower growth of 39% to 58% MoM and 23% to 32% YoY. Albeit being a smaller growth, this shows how the industry is still growing steadily after last year’s historic jump.
The slower e-commerce growth could also be due to shoppers starting to return to physical retail stores. Although US retail foot traffic is still around 20% to 30% lower than pre-pandemic levels as of August 2021, the numbers are on an upward trend. According to recent research by Forrester, brick-and-mortar stores will account for 72% of retail sales in the US by 2024.
E-Commerce shoppers will no longer wait for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
During Black Friday 2020 and Cyber Monday 2020, there was a 71% spike in e-commerce parcel volume. However, we expect slower growth for this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The growth this year is likely to be in between 2019 and 2020’s numbers, at around 66%.
With the present supply chain issues and concerns around empty shelves that will likely worsen during peak season, consumers are planning to start holiday shopping earlier this year. In line with customer demands, major retailers such as Target, Walmart, and Best Buy are offering Black Friday price-match guarantees to help customers get the best prices even before the shopping event.
Returning to pre-pandemic levels
With vaccine roll-outs and as shoppers adapt to the ‘new normal’, e-commerce growth in 2021 seems to be cooling down. Nonetheless, the industry’s growth does not seem to be stopping anytime soon. We are excited to see how this year’s peak season growth will turn out!
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.