Like in 2020, eCommerce sales in 2021 have seen a big boom across the board. The continued lock down situation in most places plus innovation in technology are partly responsible for this. In the US for example, total B2B sales volume is summed up by how B2B buyers and sellers managed last year’s shock with online strategies in 2020. The past year is an indication of a permanent shift in buying behavior. It also shows a change in buyers supply chain and logistics processes in the broad sense. It is fair to say many businesses were caught unprepared. They had to scramble to enable their digital process with eCommerce just to stay competitive. Others were faced with the limits of an outdated or inflexible eCommerce infrastructure.

Industry wide

In the near future, the shift to being online is only going to gain pace. Last year alone, total B2B online sales (including eCommerce) grew by 9.6%. Curiously, not as fast as the growth increases of previous years. Sales on B2B eCommerce websites increased by 10% to $1.39 trillion from $1.26 trillion in 2019. This is according to the 2021 B2B Ecommerce Market Report from Digital Commerce 360. B2B businesses experienced an increase in demand for online sales due to the global pandemic. The complete lockdown of traditional sales channels and distribution caused this drastic changes. 


Industry wide, there was a feeding frenzy to meet the new requirements of digital customers. Many SMB companies rushed to catch up to the demand from digital customers, or start from scratch. While there was general growth in B2B eCommerce sales overall, it has been spread unevenly among sectors. Obviously, the pandemic has had different effects for different kinds of businesses. Regardless, many companies ended last year with good sales growth. Unfortunately, this might have been limited to eCommerce and online operations. A survey showed 62% of companies reported an increase in eCommerce sales of at least 25% last year, including 12% that increased sales by more than 75%. However, Bloomreach Inc illustrated that the total online sales fell  year on year by 2.3% as did conversion rates by close to 30%. 


Many of the major corporations were digitally prepared and ate up some new market share last year. US retail giant, Costco Wholesale Corporation,  reported a net sales increase of 14.7 percent by the second quarter of last year. The retailer saw a 74.8 percent rise in eCommerce sales for that quarter while same store sales increased by 12.9 percent. Interestingly by embracing an omnichannel approach companies have managed to augment  the traditional shopping experience. This has had a noticeable impact on eCommerce sales and will continue to do so in 2021.


Finally, department store Macy’s is expecting a whopping $10 billion in online sales by 2023. As of this year, online sales represents more than half of the company’s sales. Macy’s focused more on online in 2020, as the pandemic kept customers out of physical stores. It also facilitated a 30% decline in total revenue in its fiscal year ended a few weeks ago on Feb. 1. The department store had over $7.71 billion in online sales last year alone.

That is a 20.9% increase from the prior year. Net sales fell by 29.3% but totaled $17.35 billion in 2020, significant drop from $24.56 billion.  Digital sales is now 53% of Macy’s total sales in 2020, which is interesting for a legacy brand. The department store chain  acquired 7 million new customers in Q4. This added to digital sales growth of 21% year on year to $3 billion. eCommerce was 44% of the retailer’s sales in Q4.

In conclusion, eCommerce sales are going to continue to evolve this year. It would not necessarily be higher for a number of reasons. Partly because the lockdown is expected to be eased at some point this year. However, sales figures for eCommerce in 2021 will reveal a lot. Especially, it would test the effectiveness of eCommerce features that are becoming effective as customers change their purchasing behaviors.