As the pandemic eases its grip on many parts of the U.S., consumers are returning to in-store shopping. Traditional U.S. retail is now projected to climb to $4.95 trillion in 2021, a 2.2 percent increase over the prior year, according to a recent blog post by Stella Rising’s Elizabeth Timmis McHugh. However, she notes that many consumers became comfortable purchasing a wider variety of items online during 2020, and predicts that e-commerce will continue accelerating. This Stella Rising infographic, in presenting the numbers and the long-lasting consumer motivations, depicts what to expect in the months ahead and where brands should prioritize their efforts.

Citing stats from eMarketer, McHugh points out that e-commerce now commands a larger slice of a larger pie. “Prior to the pandemic, we expected e-commerce sales would make up 13.2 percent of total retail sales ($5.779 trillion) in 2021,” according to eMarketer. “We now expect e-commerce sales will account for 15.5 percent of the $5.856 trillion in total retail sales this year.”

She concludes that “2021 looks rosy, particularly for consumer brands well positioned via both online and offline channels. Pre-pandemic, e-commerce was associated with convenience; in 2020, e-commerce also equaled safety. Now, many consumers—especially Gen Zers—are excited to return in-store, but those trips will be augmented by screen time; shopping is more holistic than ever before—and for a greater group of people.”