2021 Holiday eCommerce Trends

The 2020 holiday season revealed some exciting eCommerce trends. Online shopping dominated (for obvious reasons) while more and more traditional, brick-and-mortar brands tried their hand at being online retailers. All of this added up to more consumers looking online for their holiday shopping (and even more competition).

2021 is looking to keep with the online shopping trend, and thanks to the eCommerce frenzy of 2020, we know even more about how consumers find and support businesses online.


2021 Holiday eCommerce Trends


Social Media & Influencer Marketing

Brands are expected to invest heavily in social media and influencer marketing this year. In fact, according to Celtra’s 2021 Holiday Marketing Survey, 47% of marketers expect social media to be the top channel for driving revenue. With platforms like Twitter and Pinterest rolling out new ad features just in time for the holiday rush, marketers certainly have their choice of social channels to dive into…and consumers are diving in as well.

Social referrals will generate an additional 30% of traffic to eCommerce sites this holiday season. – Salesforce

Salesforce predicts that ​​”Social referrals will generate an additional 30% of traffic to eCommerce sites this holiday season.” This increased focus on social media has also impacted HOW consumers are shopping, with mobile eCommerce sales expected to account for 54% of all eCommerce transactions, according to eMarketer.

It’s clear that, regardless of industry or budget, social media is a MUST for all digital marketers this holiday season.


Email Marketing Takes Second Place

Email marketing is ready for the spotlight this holiday season, taking the number 2 spot in expected revenue-driving channels. Salesforce is making some big predictions; they “predict that consumers will see an 18% increase in marketing emails from brands and retailers this November and December (compared to a 6% decrease over the same time period in prior years).” 

35% of consumers prefer brands communicate with email instead of direct marketing – Celtra

This expected increase is good news for all loving email marketers, as it falls right in line with how consumers want brands to communicate. According to Celtra’s 2021 Holiday Marketing Survey, 35% of consumers prefer brands communicate with email instead of direct marketing, making the affordable and dynamic option the best choice this holiday.


Is SMS Marketing Still Optional?

Text message marketing has had an interesting road. Once a little-used marketing oddity, direct SMS marketing has risen to infamy as one of the most successful marketing channels out there. With a 98% open rate, SMS crushes traditional email marketing. In 2020 alone, 48.7 million people chose to receive SMSes from businesses. 

SMS marketing reaches consumers with a 98% open rate

Text is an easy addition to your holiday channel mix this holiday season, with sky-high open rates and new affordable SMS marketing options.


Free & Fast Shipping

As consumers, we’ve all grown accustomed to the convenience and instant gratification of accelerated, even same-day shipping. This holiday, consumers are expecting the trend of quick (and free) delivery to continue. 

Free shipping persuades almost 80% of US consumers to shop online

In fact, free shipping has become such a motivating factor that it persuades almost 80% of US consumers to shop online. Same-day shipping commands equal attention, with 56% of shoppers expecting same-day delivery and 61% saying they will happily pay more for the speedy service.

This holiday, brands looking to minimize cart abandonment (and increase customer loyalty) should have a firm plan in place to speed consumers through the process – from increased site speed to accelerated delivery schedules.


Take Advantage of Off Season Ad Pricing & Start Early

Holiday shoppers are starting early this year (and so are digital marketers). The holidays are notorious for increased ad costs & brands are always looking for creative ways to grab attention without busting their budget. 

A straightforward way to maximize eyeballs without breaking the bank is running your ads early. It’s no secret that ad costs start creeping into the stratosphere every year in November and December. Marketers in 2021 are mastering the algorithm by placing promotional ads early into Q4, hoping to snag the attention of the ever-increasing wave of early holiday shoppers.


Want some more inside tips into setting your ad spend? Reach out to our team of eCommerce experts.

Google Premier Partner Award Case Study: Finch
Read more
6 Trends in Digital Marketing That Will Change Everything
Read more
Understanding the New ‘Meta Advantage’ Automation Ad Suite
Read more