2021 eCommerce Insights: A Year in Rewind

7 min readApr 1, 2022


By LitExtension


2021 is a year with a plethora of remarkable events and milestones to remember. As the year went by, it’s about time we looked back at these 2021 eCommerce insights and predicted the future of eCommerce.

Keep scrolling because, in this article, we will take a trip down memory lane to take notes on

  • What happened in eCommerce 2021?
  • What are some key eCommerce stats that you shouldn’t ignore?
  • Will eCommerce continue to grow?

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2021 eCommerce Insights: A Year in Review

Global eCommerce insights

During the 2021 post-pandemic, the eCommerce market worldwide witnessed an overall upward trend. Retail eCommerce sales have reached $4,891 billion in 2021. The global eCommerce sales are expected to surpass $5.5 trillion in 2022 and reach the number of $7,385 trillion in the next three years.

Global eCommerce sales report (Source: eMarketer)

eCommerce in 2021 has bloomed since the beginning of the year. According to a report by the Office for National Statistics, February 2021 has established a new record for online shopping sales. 36.1% of the total retail sales were made online, while this proportion in February 2020 was only 20%.

With that being said, in the last quarter of 2021, eCommerce sales in all segments of all eCommerce markets saw a decrease in volume. Compared to the same period last year (November 2021 vs November 2020), eCommerce sales have dropped by an average of 20.73%.

The eCommerce growth is expected to continue to rise significantly in the next few years. It is estimated that in 2022, 21% of the total retail sales will come from digital channels. This figure will keep increasing and is believed to reach 24.5% by 2025.

These are some key eCommerce stats in 2021 that you should take note of. Now, let’s take a look at some eCommerce insights from different countries in terms of online retail.

Regionally eCommerce insights

eCommerce 2021 in the US witnessed a slight fluctuation throughout the year, as reported by the U.S Department of Commerce. After a rise in the 2nd quarter, the total eCommerce sales dropped a little in the 3rd quarter and quickly recovered in the last three months of the year.

Though there might be some downturns last year, the online retail market in several countries has followed an upward trend. eCommerce sales in Latin America saw a significant change in 2021. It rose from $68 billion to $85 billion the previous year, witnessing a rise of 25%. Meanwhile, many eCommerce enthusiasts are expecting impressive growth in the Indian online market, from $46.2 billion in 2020 to $111.4 billion in 2025.

On another note, Asia-Pacific continued to be the largest eCommerce market. The total online retail sales of Asia-Pacific easily surpassed North America and Western Europe with nearly $2.992 trillion.

According to eMarketer, the top five eCommerce markets will remain unchanged from 2018 to 2025. China is still in the lead, accounting for 51.2% of the total online retail sales. The United States is the second-largest eCommerce market with $875 billion in digital sales. In third place is the United Kingdom, which makes up for 4.8% of the total eCommerce sales. Closely followed behind is Japan in fourth place with 3%. And last but not least, South Korea makes it to the top 5 largest eCommerce market with 2.5%.

eCommerce platforms and marketplaces statistics

Last year, many eCommerce platforms and marketplaces bloomed with impressive sales. In this part of our 2021 eCommerce insights, let’s check out some notable results that these marketplaces scored.

Online consumers spent over $3 trillion on the top 100 marketplaces. In a recent analysis by Digital Commerce 360, 63% of the total eCommerce sales in 2021 were processed by marketplaces, including well-known names like Taobao, Amazon, and eBay.

2021 marketplaces report

As a result, several retail behemoths are taking this golden opportunity to enter this fertile soil and expand their businesses. A representative example of this trend is Target, an US retail giant. In 2019, Target introduced Target+. Two years since its launch, this marketplace has greatly contributed nearly $13 billion dollars to Target’s digital sales growth.

Target online sales report

2021 might be a hard year for someone, but that’s not the case with Etsy. Targeting a minimum of $500 million in the third quarter, Etsy has not only met the expectation but also proved itself to be an over-achiever. Etsy made $532 million in gross merchandise sales in the third quarter of 2021.

But that’s not all. In 2021, Etsy also experienced an exponential increase in the number of active sellers and buyers. Now, Etsy has become a favorite destination to shop online for over 81.9 million consumers purchasing goods from 4.4 million sellers across the world.

Etsy growth 2021

Etsy is undoubtedly one of the best marketplaces for online selling. Check out LitExtension exclusive eCommerce 2021 report NOW to discover the reason behind the success of Etsy and why it can secure a place in our top 4 best marketplaces of 2021.

eCommerce insights: eCommerce platforms news and update

The eCommerce world never remains unchanged throughout the year. Therefore, it is vital for eCommerce platforms to keep their users up-to-date with constant patches and platform updates to meet their demand.

Throughout 2021, both hosted and open-source solutions have been working restlessly to roll out the latest features for store owners. In this part of our eCommerce insights, let’s have quick glance at every key event that happened to the top eCommerce platforms in 2021.



  • Squarespace introduced webhooks to allow developers to subscribe to OAuth and Order events
  • Squarespace publish its Profile API for general use


  • Wix allows merchants to connect to Amazon and sell on multiple platforms (available for US users only)


  • Magento Commerce went through a rebranding process and changed its name to Adobe Commerce


  • Magento released version 2.3.7 for both Magento Open-source and Adobe Commerce platforms
  • Wix acquired Rise.ai to allow users to add gift cards and loyalty to their online stores


  • BigCommerce rolled out Widget HTML in GraphQL Storefront API




  • BigCommerce released a major API update involving checkout experience




eCommerce Insights — FAQs

How much did e-commerce grow in 2021?

eCommerce in 2021 has grown by a significant amount. The total eCommerce sales globally jumped from $4.213 trillion in 2020 to $4.921 trillion in 2021, which translates to a 17% increase over a year.

Is eCommerce still growing?

The eCommerce growth is predicted to go on an upward trend in the next few years. Global eCommerce sales will reach $7.385 trillion in 2025, a 50% increase compared to 2021.

How to get more sales online?

How to increase sales volume is one of the most burning questions that many e-merchants have to face. Besides choosing a suitable eCommerce platform to operate on, you’ll need to employ several strategies to expand your business.

eCommerce Insights — Final Words

The eCommerce world is constantly changing. Therefore, it is important to look back, reflect, and take note of every important event that happened in the previous year to decide a suitable strategy for the upcoming period.

We hope that with these eCommerce insights, you’ll get a grip on what happened in the eCommerce 2021 world with our eCommerce stats and news.

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