2022 Ecommerce Retail Trends

Bolt Team


Randy Hum

Director, Customer Insights & Analytics

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2022 Ecommerce Retail Trends

The world has changed due to the effects of COVID-19 on everyday behavior. From a slowdown in travel to an increase in employees working from home, the new normal upon us has shifted consumer routines. This has undoubtedly changed shopping behaviors across the retail industry over the last two years.

Key Ecommerce Metrics

One big change that started in 2020 when the pandemic first hit, was a massive sales shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online retailers. Based on U.S. Census data, online sales as a percentage of total retail sales were:

  • 10.6% in 2019
  • 14.6% in 2020 and 2021
  • 14.3% for Q1 2022

We see in the chart below how year-over-year (YoY) ecommerce sales spiked in 2020 (blue line, +43%) and how the YoY growth forecast from eMarketer drops to 9% for this year. The forecast for this metric cools off through to 2026, back to the 2019 growth rate of around 13%. 

According to DigitalCommerce360, the volume seen in 2021 would not have occurred until 2023, had there been no pandemic! This phenomenal jump in sales benefitted many industries such as Home & Garden and Electronics while adversely affecting Fashion and Travel retailers. Understanding how these macro trends can affect your business is critical in planning and managing expectations.

Lower Conversion Rates Lead To Lower Overall Sales

The slowdown in 2022 Q1 YoY sales growth coincides with the decline in ecommerce conversion rates. As per Kibo’s study, YoY site conversion rates were down globally and the US was no exception. We have seen many merchants experience a similar decline in all industries. 

These macro trends, along with other factors can greatly affect ecommerce conversion rates. Some other observations that we have noted are stated below:

  • Marketing campaigns can lower site/checkout conversion as more people visit online stores for “window” shopping. Even a change in marketing mix could have an impact as we see that site conversion is down for every source based on Kibo’s research below.
  • Changes in device usage, such as a higher percentage of visitors using mobile devices instead of desktops, usually lowers conversion rates
  • Rising inflation can lead to more window shopping as shoppers reconsider their needs vs wants and scale back general shopping
  • Seasonality is also a major factor for most industries so typically it is best to compare conversion rates within the same period vs month over month

Kibo’s YoY Conversion Rate by Source

It has been a challenging year so far for the retail world and as we look towards the end of the year, we are optimistic about strong ecommerce growth. eMarketer is forecasting a 15.5% YoY increase for ecommerce this holiday season, far outpacing the 3.3% for brick-and-mortar stores. We are looking forward to seeing ecommerce flourish to close out 2022!


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