February 1, 2021

E-Commerce Went Bonkers in 2020, Salvaging Our Economy and Pulling in Ridiculous 44% Growth

So, you didn’t become a millionaire overnight by investing in AMC or Gamestop. Have no fear because the real future (and present) is not in #stonks; it’s clearly in e-commerce.

As an affiliate marketing agency, we take trends into consideration throughout the year, but when numbers come in at the end of the year like the ones that came out about e-commerce in 2020, it’s important to zoom out and take a look at the big picture.

Let’s go ahead and admit the obvious. 2020 was a really weird year. Our economy went digital, as did our birthdays and family gatherings. But e-commerce and the supply chain stepped up big time. And there are the numbers to prove it.

Senior Analyst at Advertise Purple, Sydney P on what was a huge year for the company even in the face of adversity: “While 2020 was a disruptive year on many levels, one thing always remained constant, and that was the incremental growth we experienced at Advertise Purple. With consistent increases to our client base we not only were able to sustain our employee base, but had the pleasure of increasing our team size by over 150%.” 

On an even larger scale, consumers spent $861.12 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2020, up an incredible 44.0% year over year, according to Digital Commerce 360 estimates. That’s the highest annual U.S. e-commerce growth in at least two decades. It’s also nearly triple the 15.1% jump in 2019.

Online’s share of total retail sales has steadily been on the rise—with e-commerce penetration hitting 21.3% in 2020, Digital Commerce 360 estimates. That’s up from 15.8% in 2019 and 14.3% in 2018.

The more than five-percentage point gain in e-commerce penetration is by far the biggest year-over-year jump for U.S. retail sales ever recorded. No other year has even reached a two percentage-point gain in digital penetration.

COVID-19-related boosts in online shopping resulted in an additional $174.87 billion in e-commerce revenue in 2020, Digital Commerce 360 estimates.

If it weren’t for the bump in online sales from the pandemic, the $861.12 billion in e-commerce sales wouldn’t have been reached until 2022.

This is really crazy to consider. The fact that our infrastructure might forever be affected – in many people’s opinions for the better – due to an unforeseen global pandemic, is really a sight to see.

Because make no mistake, we were already trending upwards, but that trend was expedited by a year none of us will soon forget.

The record-breaking jump in total retail sales may come as a surprise considering the coronavirus pandemic’s negative impact on in-store shopping. However, all of the growth in retail came from e-commerce.

Online sales accounted for 101% of all gains in retail in 2020. This means sales through all other channels—stores, catalogs and call centers—declined. This is the first time in history that e-commerce sales accounted for all retail sales gains.

The previous high was in 2008, when e-commerce accounted for 63.8% of all retail sales growth.

It may come as very little surprise that Amazon was a big winner here. That said, there is still room for brands independent of Amazon to make a splash now that consumer behavior has shifted so substantially.

At Advertise Purple, we work with close to 140,000 of the top affiliates in the channel’s ecosystem. We’ve grown our staff by nearly double and have new accounts coming in daily, looking to develop affiliate programs.

So, before you invest all your money in stocks Redditors are pushing or try your hand at meme investing or Bitcoin, why not find a way to get involved with affiliate marketing? Because affiliates, merchants, and everyone in between is benefitting from this push.

Senior analyst at Advertise Purple, Will H added, “Throughout the work from home timespan during 2020 we’ve remained ever-busy. Utilizing our new technology for our clients, we’ve been able to push optimizations further than previously possible.”

We work with brands in each and every vertical imaginable and know how to find the right affiliates to push their products.

Why not get started today and get your piece of the pie?

If you are interested, please reach out at [email protected]


Are you getting started in affiliate marketing or looking to improve your current program?

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