Last Updated On August 21, 2020 / Written By Chloe Henderson

How Many People Shop Online? Statistics to Know for 2021

Understanding how many people shop online can help a business better understand how venturing into the digital landscape can increase sales and traffic.

Online shopping has quickly become one of the most popular commerce platforms among consumers. Therefore, businesses should consider expanding their services online to remain competitive within their industry.

It's important to first understand how online payment processing streamlines transactions and benefits both the companies and their customers. When a buyer purchases an item or service on an e-commerce website, their credit card information is encrypted by a virtual device known as a payment gateway. This service ensures that the consumer's data is protected from payment fraud and security hacks.

This authentication process is completed in just a few seconds but is vital to keeping the customer's payment information secure. The convenience and security provided by digital transactions have continued to drive the popularity of online shopping.

10 Need-to-Know Online Shopping Statistics

Many people shop online because of its convenience, broad selection, low prices, and accessible reviews. Brick-and-mortar stores that are contemplating launching an online website should consider recent online shopping statistics.

1. Online Purchases

According to a 2018 Statistica study, 1.8 billion people around the globe made online purchases. This led to approximately $2.8 trillion worth of e-commerce sales. Analytics show that online shopping trends are still going strong and are projected to reach $4.8 trillion by 2021.

Businesses that haven't developed an online store are simply missing out on untapped revenue and profits. Data shows that digital transactions are only increasing, promoting traffic and sales for companies that implement online payment processing.

Customers buy online not just for convenience but because of detailed product descriptions, pictures, videos, and reviews. This gives the business an opportunity to advertise their items and gives consumers a chance to get to know the products.

2. Shopping Online Promotes the Overall Business


Google reported that 63% of all consumer shopping begins online, regardless of where the final transaction is made.

Many consumers shop online through search engines to get an idea of what products are on the market. If a brand has an established online business, traffic is directed to their site, increasing their chances for sales. Therefore, small businesses should invest in efforts to promote their online presence to attract more buyers.

However, retailers that also have physical stores can find that their consumers have researched their items online before coming in to make an in-store purchase. Buyers enjoy having the control of exploring different brands and goods before determining where they want to spend their money.

3. Mobile Shopping


Studies show that almost half of consumers prefer shopping on mobile apps over in-store.
Many e-commerce brands have implemented mobile apps to accompany their online shopping experience. These apps allow consumers to buy products using their mobile devices at any time, from anywhere. These processes must be user-friendly and cohesive with the website format to avoid confusion. Providing this extra option shows customers the brand is taking measures to enhance their customer experience.

4. Retail Platforms

Ranked as the third largest online marketplace, Amazon earns $344 billion annually, contributing to the $1.66 trillion made by the top online platforms in 2018.

E-commerce marketplaces are robust websites that handle products from numerous third-party businesses and perform the transactions. This allows consumers to look at a variety of products without having to scour the internet.

5. Most Used Online Payment Method


eWallet is proven to be the most popular form of payment among people shopping online at 36%, followed by credit and debit cards.

An eWallet is a virtual wallet available on tablets, mobile phones, and laptops that secures credit and checking account information. This expedites finalizing purchases by eliminating the need to manually input card information at every transaction. Commonly used eWallets include Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and Paypal.

Not only can customers use these digital wallets online, but they are accepted by many retailers in-store via contactless pay. Buyers simply tap their phones on the payment terminals to complete the transaction.

6. How COVID-19 Has Affected the Online Consumer


While brick-and-mortar stores have certainly struggled with the Coronavirus outbreak, grocery stores with online ordering have remained afloat. According to GeekWire, 42% of Americans bought their groceries online in March of 2020.

While this may be a temporary increase, it has expanded the online shopping experience for the supermarket industry. More than half of the people shopping online said that they would continue to buy groceries digitally even after safety mandates are lifted.

7. New Product Exposure

Products online are continually in rotation, giving shoppers access to the newest items on the market. In fact, studies show that 75% of consumers say that their online shopping searches offer completely new results each month, which keeps their interest.

Online brands need to keep consumers intrigued by showing their variety of products and updating merchandise.

8. Online Shopping Frequency


Approximately 62% of consumers shop online once a month, 26% shop weekly, and 3% say they buy things online once a day.

These staggering numbers prove that virtual browsing is not just for unique occasions. Consumers regularly visit online stores to research items and make purchases. However, some shoppers say the vast selection can be overwhelming, causing them to hesitate to make a purchase.

To counteract this confusion, e-commerce retailers should focus on designing a comprehensive layout that displays all relevant data needed to make a purchase decision. Businesses can also invest in email marketing and digital assistants that offer customer service and exclusive deals.

9. Fast Growing E-Commerce Industries

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, online sales of protective gear, such as masks, have increased by 807%. Other goods that showed a spike in virtual sales include medicines, toilet paper, and canned goods.


With stay-at-home mandates and gyms closed, exercise equipment demand doubled in March, and home accessories increased by 13%. While the trend stability is unsure, these industries have increased their clientele and revenue by utilizing online shopping.

10. Why Online Consumers Abandon Their Shopping Carts


Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, online consumers can easily fill up their shopping carts and abandon them in a second. This often leaves business management frustrated and confused as to what changed the customer's mind. A Statistica study reported that 63% of cart abandonment was caused by shipping and handling fees.

Many businesses offer free shipping, making this an expected feature by many online shoppers. Therefore, when they proceed to check-out, many customers are surprised by the hidden expense and take their business elsewhere.

For brands unable to offer free shipping, full transparency is vital. If the buyers understand the additional costs upfront, they are less likely to leave their carts at checkout.

Online shopping is a powerful tool that can help businesses reach other demographics and enhance their customer service. Through increased sales and revenue, establishments can focus on expanding their brand through different markets.