Online sales are expected to increase by $2.4 trillion between 2021 and 2026


A new study predicts that global e-commerce sales growth will significantly outpace that of in-store commerce.

According to the latest edition of the annual report Report on the future of the digital shelf from Edge by Ascential, global online sales will reach $2.4 trillion in gross merchandise value (GMV, or total value of goods sold) in 2026. That means e-commerce will account for nearly 40% of global retail sales by 2026, with in-store retail increasing from 69% of total sales to 60%.

Additionally, from 2021 to 2026, Edge by Ascential predicts that e-commerce will account for 63% of total GMV growth, outpacing all other in-store retail channels. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, e-commerce activity grew by 37% globally, which analysts at Edge by Ascential have driven progress and evolution across the industry. online shopping ecosystem.

The study indicates the majority of shoppers now begin their product searches on digital channels, with one in three in-store purchases beginning online. And when in-store, shoppers are increasingly engaging with digital experiences through mobile apps, QR codes, social media and payments.

Other interesting finds include:

  • Edge by Ascential observed that customers lost up to more than a fifth (22%) of their weekly sales for each day their product was out of stock.
  • Search is now the preferred way to shop and an entry point for product and brand discovery.
  • For products sold online, a product detail page and online packaging are as essential as packaging and promotional materials for products displayed on a physical shelf.

Recent data from Adobe confirms that e-commerce is becoming a more than $1 trillion market. Online consumer spending in the United States will surpass the $1 trillion mark for the first time this year, according to Adobe. Inflation is playing a role, with e-commerce growth of $3.8 billion being driven by rising prices in the first two months of 2022. In 2022, Adobe expects US consumers to pay up to ‘to $27 billion more online for the same amount of goods owed. to inflation.

“Our data shows that e-commerce will be the main driver of retail growth over the next few years, with online retail accounting for nearly 40% of global retail sales by 2026,” said Deren Baker, CEO of Edge by Ascential. “Increasingly, product discovery, and indeed the entire purchase journey, is happening on social media sites like Facebook and TikTok, which expanded their business operations during the 2020 and 2021 shutdowns. meanwhile, traditional retailers are making leaps and bounds. in their digital transformation like Amazon. As retail enters a new generation where the buyer’s journey to purchase is most likely to begin on a mobile phone or laptop, the digital shelf is the primary place where shoppers discover, select , buy and interact with products online, and is therefore fundamental to the future growth of a brand.

The study was created using data from Edge by Ascential’s proprietary analytics tool, Retail Market Monitor, which analyzes the retail ecosystem by industry, geography and channel. Retail sales data includes both online and offline operations, and only includes retail chains, of which Edge Retail Insight covers nearly 2,500 globally.


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