2020 eCommerce Holiday Shopping Trends

In case you hadn’t noticed, 2020 hasn’t played out quite the same as preceding years. The COVID-19 pandemic has utterly dismantled nearly every bustling economic projection set for 2020. That is, except for one.

Holiday shopping remains steady. Not only that, but projectionists say that this year’s holiday shopping season will fully eclipse the year before it. That’s all thanks to the industry that managed to come out on top through all of this economic turmoil: eCommerce. 2020 eCommerce holiday shopping is set to take center stage.


With brick-and-mortar stores limited by lockdowns and occupancy restrictions, eCommerce sites have been wide open for business. And while as a whole, Americans are holding back and spending less, consumer behavior shifting to online shopping has kept eCommerce retail relatively stable throughout 2020’s twists and turns. Analysts attribute this to the fact that because people are forgoing other non-essential spending like travel, vacations, and dining-in experiences, people are getting their thrills through retail therapy, instead.

Should the pandemic continue at its current pace into the winter, most people are going to continue trading in their travel plans this holiday for sending gifts in their absence instead. Sadly, not many are going over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s this year. Instead, opt to send her a new massage chair and a Christmas card.

According to Digital Commerce 360‘s research, U.S. consumers are poised to spend $198.73 billion with online retailers this holiday season, a 43.3% year-over-year jump from $138.65 billion for the same November-December period in 2019. That’s a jump of a little over 60 million dollars. And especially in a year like we’ve had, that’s an impressive amount of growth.


So, this is the year of the eCommerce Christmas. And according to Forbes, the eCommerce industries that will walk away with the biggest slice of the pie this year will be:

  • Health and beauty, with a boost of 23%
  • Consumer electronics, rising 20%
  • Fashion, up 19%
  • Home furnishings, growing 16% by year’s end

And on the flip side, as one would probably suspect, in-store retail performance is in the tank. Forrester predicts an overall decrease in in-store purchasing, declining around 6.6% this year. 2020 has come with many ups and downs, but we can all agree that this is decidedly a bad year to be a shopping mall Santa.

With people cooped up in their homes and unable to engage in the usual holiday activities, it seems like the entire United States has decided to take the advice of Aziz Ansari and Retta from Parks and Rec and treat themselves to some new holiday decor and home furnishings to fill their quarantine space with a bit more holiday cheer.


If you’re an omnichannel brand, you probably don’t need us to tell you this, but expect to see a majority of your traffic coming through your website, not the front door. That means you should plan accordingly by ensuring your site and stock levels are ready to handle an uptick in traffic. Now is not the time to slap an “out of stock” sticker on your product pages. We’d also suggest ensuring your site is optimized to have the best chance of beating out the competition for organic online searches. If there was ever a time to beef up your eCommerce SEO strategy, now seems like an opportune moment.

Looking forward, while this eCommerce holiday season is still set to be historic, if this year has taught us anything, it’s to not try to make predictions too far into the future. Any number of changes and unexpected curveballs like more store closures or government stimulus interference could reverse or accelerate the current trajectory. One thing is certain though: people have gotten very comfortable with the convenience of eCommerce shopping. While the current public health situation has it on the upswing, there’s no data to suggest that eCommerce and online shopping will go out of style anytime soon.


If you’re a brand looking to get in on the increase in online traffic but are in need of a little guidance in the SEO department or are looking to switch things up for 2021, we’d love to help you reach your digital marketing goals this holiday season and into the new year. Through SEO, social media, and inbound marketing tactics and strategies, Boxwood Digital can get your eCommerce site humming.

Get started with quick, free consultation.