Our Five Favourite E-commerce Trends From Last Year

January 18, 2021

Last year saw a huge increase in e-commerce, as more people than ever before chose to sell their products online. The industries which took the digital plunge varied widely, from manufacturing to retail, as business owners sought to remain relevant and competitive during the still ongoing global pandemic.

The lifestyle changes of 2020 resulted in major trends in e-commerce, ones which will greatly influence future trends. In this post, we will be rounding up our favourite latest e-commerce trends from last year, to give you an idea of what could lie ahead in 2021.

What Are E-commerce Industry Trends?

E-commerce refers to the buying and selling of products online, and their trends demonstrate what is popular right now. This is important knowledge for businesses of all sizes as it provides you with an understanding of the current market, allowing you to maintain a competitive edge. You can tailor what you sell, and how you sell it, to the wants and needs of the consumer. To grow within the e-commerce industry, your goals need to be both researched and achievable.

2020 Trends In E-commerce

Last year, B2C and B2B e-commerce trends were heavily influenced by the Coronavirus pandemic. Lockdown and tier restrictions meant that e-commerce sales accelerated rapidly due to consumers now purchasing online rather than in store, and e-commerce itself advanced and adapted to thrive in the new normal. Below are some of our favourite trends in e-commerce from 2020.


Social Commerce

Social commerce is an e-commerce retail trend that will only continue to grow. In 2020, all major social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, introduced new features allowing on-site or in-app purchases. E-commerce has become more accessible, engaging and interactive than ever before, as the whole shopping experience is completed without leaving your current page.

Facebook Shops is a huge mobile e-commerce trend, creating a mobile-first shopping experience. They prioritise customer communication, and provide assistance to entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Instagram Shopping allows businesses to drive brand identity and product discovery. Available in over 70 countries, and continuing its global phased roll-out, the transition from window shopping to completed purchase is seamless.

Both Facebook and Instagram have partnered with platforms such as WooCommerce and Shopify. TikTok has announced a global partnership with Shopify, with TikTok For Business accounts now able to create in-feed ads allowing customers to make direct purchases.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has been an e-commerce sales trend for several years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Social media influencers are individuals with a high follower count or high levels of engagement who mention, recommend and endorse gifted products or experiences for brands.

Influencer marketing reached new levels in 2020, as social media usage increased during lockdown. According to a study conducted by Shareablee,interactions with sponsored posts reached 57 million in July, almost 5 times more than in March.

Businesses of all sizes have been joining the trend:

  • EA Sports won an influencer marketing award for best gaming campaign after their global launch of Fifa 20. They filmed footballers in various locations playing the game, further blurring the boundary between athlete and influencer.
  • Uber Eats hired Mark Hamill and Patrick Stewart, of Star Wars and Star Trek fame, to star in their adverts and represent the brand across social media.
  • E.L.F became the first beauty brand to use TikTok as an advertising platform, leading to a viral campaign under the hashtag #EyesLipsFace, and huge levels of engagement.


Subscription Services

The popularity of subscription services in 2020 suggests that it will be another long-lasting e-commerce trend. Video streaming platforms, digital news and media, and communications software are all industries which offer subscription services whose growth accelerated in 2020. This e-commerce industry trend is very much influenced by lockdown, as people attempt to occupy themselves indoors, send gifts to treat themselves and loved ones and virtually meet with friends and family.

However subscriptions aren’t limited to Netflix and Zoom, and other industries tapped into this kind of service with similar success. Meal kits, flowers, makeup, books, household goods and software are all products which have been offered on a subscription basis by various businesses throughout 2020.

Contactless Payments

One of the most significant e-commerce sales trends from last year was the gradual transition from cash to card. Stores discouraged use of paper money, and optimised for contactless and mobile payment. Such payments became easier and safer, and the shopping process became more efficient, minimising time spent in-store.

Across the UK, the contactless spending limit was increased from £30 to £45. According to J.P.Morgan, digital wallets have an annual growth rate of 23%, with PayPal, ApplePay and Google Pay being the most popular.


This retail e-commerce trend is twofold, with speed referring to both payment and delivery. Amazon set the benchmark, with one click purchases and next day delivery, but other businesses have proven capable of competing.

Speed is closely related to social commerce, as the integrated system means that you don’t have to leave social media. On demand purchases and time-saving delivery will only become more in demand, especially with the continued COVID restrictions.

What Does This Mean For Future Trends In E-commerce?

Our five favourite e-commerce trends all have two things in common: the desires of the consumer were prompted by their circumstances (the pandemic), and they are likely going to comprise new e-commerce trends in 2021. Already, influencers are predicted to become brand partners and self-service platforms are thought to be rising in popularity.

This is why it is so important, now more than ever, to ensure that your business is making the most of its online presence, and using e-commerce to its advantage. ITQ Digital, a marketing-leading e-commerce design and development agency, helps businesses to grow their online revenue, equipped with ecommerce specialists, expert partnerships and flexible support.

Working and shopping from home has become the new normal, and so many businesses have undergone a much-needed digital transformation to keep up with these new shopping and purchasing habits and behaviours. With the constantly changing trends in e-commerce, there are always more ways to understand, implement, connect and market your products online.

How Can ITQ Digital Help You?

If you have a business that needs a new e-commerce website, or you would like to take your existing online store to the next level, our web development services are perfect for you. We offer e-commerce websites on the most popular platforms on the market, including Magento, Shopify and Woocommerce, which means your online store will thrive against your competitors with ease.

In addition to our e-commerce services, we can also provide flexible and ongoing e-commerce support and e-commerce integration, which means that your website will continue to faultlessly function without any downtime or disruption.

If you have any further questions on the latest e-commerce trends or need some advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us today by calling us on 01606 210 000 or email us at info@itq.digital - we hope to hear from you soon!