Last year’s holiday season was a record breaker for online shopping. Ecommerce sales during November 2020 reached a whopping $100 billion for the first time ever. And this year’s looks to be even bigger.  How should you prepare to take advantage of 2021’s peak season? 

Qubit’s research division recently conducted a study with 1500 consumers in the US and UK with straightforward insight into how they shop. We wanted to know what their expectations are once they’ve landed on your site, and what they actually experience. We’re here to share the 6 most important stats to know ahead of this year’s holiday season.


1. 28% plan to shop MORE online for the upcoming holiday season compared to 2020 

Plus, 54.5% of US & UK respondents said they expect to shop as much during the 2021 holiday season. Altogether, over 8-in-10 shoppers plan on shopping as much or more this upcoming holiday season

This means that online shopping during the 2021 holiday season should easily outpace the 2020 holiday season, which was already record-shattering.  Holiday shopping produced a 32% year-to-year growth in the United States, and while we shouldn’t expect an increase that striking this year, retailers should put themselves in a position to take advantage of increased sales growth for the 2021 holidays.


2. 35.7% of consumers most often shop on mobile.

Mobile shopping has become increasingly convenient, with a host of technological advances that has made it even easier for consumers to shop on their phones, including:


  • one-click check-out
  •  direct buy-options on social media sites
  •  VR/AR

Insider Intelligence predicts that mobile will inch closer to becoming consumers' preferred method for online shopping within the next five years. As mobile shopping adoption increases, the online shopping experience needs to be made as seamless as possible with easy cross-site navigation, quick-add to cart options, and personalized relevancy that adapts in the moment.

Amidst declines in attention spans, we know that ecommerce teams have only about 1-2 pageviews to be relevant and grab a customer’s attention before that person looks elsewhere. The continued surge in mobile shopping will only exacerbate the engagement challenge. Being relevant is the only way to engage customers in those fleeting seconds on-site. 

Attention is the new form of currency. 


3. 31.4% are shopping with more brands than ever before. 

With endless disruption from new and competing brands, consumers are now shopping from a wider number of ecommerce sites than ever before. Knowing that there are other options, customers can just as easily bounce without purchase. As they shop online, they’re exposed to an infinite number of new brands to shop from, whether by a targeted ad, influencers, podcasts—and especially through social media.  

Social media is increasingly where consumers go to discover new brands and retailers, according to research by the NPD Group. The sheer number of options and increased access to so many different brands makes it all that more difficult for you to convince them to make a purchase on your site. 


4. 55% of shoppers need more convincing to purchase online, compared to in-stores.

Without the ability to physically touch, feel, try on, and otherwise examine products, consumers need more reassurance to make the purchase.   The possibility for buyer’s remorse is greater with online purchases not only because they can’t scrutinize the product in person, but also because they do not receive the product immediately. Furthermore, customers don’t want to deal with the hassle of a return after making a regrettable purchase, so getting them to click that ‘buy’ button takes some convincing.


How do we help them purchase? Here are some things to consider to make decisioning more seamless:


  •  Is the product description accurate?
  • Are reviews and ratings highlighted and prominent?
  • When applicable, is sizing or fit information available?
  • Are top rating or trending badges featured?

Providing visitors with the confidence to purchase has the ability to turn a weary browser into a valuable buyer.


5. 31% expect a personalized shopping experience after shopping more than once with a brand

Customer loyalty is more difficult than ever to attain. Unless brands and retailers stand out (and in a good way), there are few reasons for shoppers to exclusively choose them. Personalized, relevant experiences throughout the on-site journey is one strong way to grab the attention of a returning visitor or repeat purchaser and keep them coming back.  To do this, you should tailor product recommendations, messages and offers in order to provide unique and relevant experiences for every shopper. 

And personalization should extend to when consumers are off the page. Increasing cross-channel touch points with shoppers, such as ramping up social and email re-targeting efforts, should be individualized as well. Just remember that there is a fine line between helpful and annoying, and that fine line is relevancy. Relevant information, such as sales on items they have in their shopping cart, is helpful. Meanwhile, random, depersonalized information is more likely to bother potential customers than bring them in.

6. Only 16% of shoppers are very satisfied with their overall online shopping experiences

Although many consumers have grown more accustomed to online shopping, especially since the onset of the pandemic, customer experience challenges remain. There's an opportunity to improve the online experiences shoppers experience by understanding consumers expectations and align strategy with current shopping trends. One of the largest and most fixable areas to improve customer experience is product discovery.  If a shopper can’t find exactly what they’re looking for as soon as possible, they will move on to greener, more easily accessible pastures, and with the right data, tools, and know-how, this is an easy area to improve.

Conclusion: At Qubit we are data-driven, enabling us to be laser-focused on achieving high success rates for our customers. Generic solutions that treat every customer the same breed generic results, and that’s why we’re always at the forefront of new technologies that enable us to drive a truly personalized ecommerce experience. We’re here to make ecommerce better. If you’re interested in learning more about how Qubit can help you deliver online experiences your customers expect, reach out to us at

If you'd like to learn more of what we discovered in our consumer survey and the future of ecommerce, check out our e-book, The Ecommerce Team's Guide to Product Discovery


Jessica Sta. Maria

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