Even as total worldwide retail sales declined by 3.0% in 2020, retail ecommerce growth boomed to 27.6%. Ecommerce growth will decelerate substantially in 2021 to 14.3% as brick-and-mortar sales recover.
This year, China will take a step in its digital transformation that once may have seemed almost unthinkable. We forecast that 52.1% of the country’s retail sales will come from ecommerce in 2021, up from 44.8% a year prior. That means that for the first time anywhere, a majority of retail sales for an entire country will transact online.
Despite a challenging year for retail in 2020, we estimate that worldwide retail ecommerce sales posted a 27.6% growth rate for the year, with sales reaching well over $4 trillion. This represents a substantial uptick from our mid-pandemic assessment that globalecommerce would decelerate to 16.5% growth and demonstrates the remarkable extent to which consumers transitioned to ecommerce last year.
Global retail ecommerce sales will decelerate to a 16.5% growth rate in 2020. Even as consumers transitioned en masse to ecommerce during the pandemic, the drag caused by multiple recessions internationally has reduced the overall outlook.