Blog & Research Digest – September 2021

With our Blog and Research Digest, the Digishare team provide a curated roundup of online retail news. Along the way, we’ll pick the most interesting stories from the worlds of technology, social media, marketing and more, allowing you to see everything at a glance.

Retail News and Trends

Online retail sales growth subdued in August, but there is room for hope
“The latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers, finds that August’s performance was still well below the 6- (+2.25%) and 12-month (+21.37%) averages, but above the 3-month average of -10.53%.”

Shoppers spent less online in August than last year – but more than before the pandemic: BRC–but-more-than-before-the-pandemic-brc-23665
“At the same time, 38.3% of sales took place online. That’s down from 42% a year earlier – but 9.3 percentage points higher than the 29% of sales that took place online in 2019.”

UK shoppers spent a record £10bn online in July: Adobe
“So far this year, the study suggests, UK shoppers have spent £64.9bn – up by 18% on the same period last year and by 56% on the same time in 2019.”

Delta variant a negative impact on consumer confidence
“The survey reported a 25% increase, since July, in the number of consumers admitting they are “very or somewhat worried” about the coronavirus, from 51% to 64%, the highest one-month jump recorded since March, 2020.”

Consumers not changing shopping habits in post-pandemic retail
“In fact, just about 28% expect to shop even more online this holiday season, according to a Qubit survey that polled 1,500 U.S. and U.K. consumers in July, according to a press release.”

Shopping app use grows 30% in 2021 as shoppers continue to use mobile even as stores open
“Regionally, APAC experienced the most significant growth in time spent (54%), followed by the Americas (40%) and Europe and the Middle East (EMEA) (38%).”

UK sees slump in EU and international online purchases, but luxury bucks the trend
“EU issues were considered so bad that UK consumers said they would rather shop as far as China (42%) and the US (30%) than closer neighbours Germany (10%), Italy (7%), or Spain (6%). This is in stark contrast to EU shoppers, with 56% of European consumers saying they like to shop internationally – just 5% less than in 2020.”

Half of shoppers disappointed with Black Friday sales, retailers need to rewrite the rules on discounting, study warns
“With peak just around the corner, a new study finds that more than half of UK consumers feel that Black Friday, Cyber Monday (BFCM) discounts are never as good as they expect them to be and 58% report that the products they really want are never discounted.”

Online reviews playing role in purchase decisions
“More than half, 54%, of U.S. shoppers read online reviews for everything they buy prior to purchase and 30% of male shoppers believe good reviews impact their purchase decision while quite a few less females, 22%, believe customer feedback influences their choice.”

Clothing, groceries and vehicles most difficult to buy online: study
“Asked why these items were harder to buy, 25% said they’d had difficulty browsing online, 21% said product specifications were confusing, and the same proportion said the problem was not being asked to ask a sales assistant for advice. Almost two thirds (61%) missed being able to touch or test products, while understanding how big products were was an issue for 45%.”

RESEARCH Marketplaces clear winner as 51% of post-pandemic retail set to take place online online
“72% of global shoppers say that online shopping saved them in 2020 and 73% see ecommerce as continuing to be important to them in 2021 and beyond, according to a survey of 28,000 shoppers in 17 countires as part of Wunderman Thompson Commerce’s Future Shopper Report 2021.”

Amazon UK sellers now account of 5.5% of country’s entire retail spend
“Just 13,500 UK Amazon sellers now make up 5.5 per cent of the country’s total retail sales making nearly £2.5 billion a month, according to new research from Thrasio and SmartScout.”

Shein becomes the largest online-only retailer in the world
“Shein offers clothing for women in sizes ranging from XS to 5XL, as well as menswear, clothes for kids and, makeup, tech and accessories for pets and the home.”

Shein is now being downloaded twice as much as Amazon
“The ultra-fast fashion brand, understood to also be the world’s fastest growing ecommerce company, was downloaded a total of 17.52 million times across both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store in July this year. According to fresh data from, this dwarfed Amazon’s 7.46 million global downloads in the same period.”

No more knock-offs: China threatens to ban retailers selling fake goods
“Under the new proposals the SAMR has threatened to revoke the online business licences, required to sell anything online in China, of retailers found to be in breach of violations of intellectual property laws.”



Shenzhen is paying online businesses to sell somewhere besides Amazon
” Since then, Amazon has shuttered at least 50,000 stores operated by Chinese merchants, according to a Shenzhen-based trade group, for behaviors such as soliciting fake reviews and offering gift cards to reviewers, the latter being a normal practice in China but one that violates Amazon’s policies.”

Why Walmart’s e-commerce growth is cooling off while Amazon is still on fire
“Last year, Walmart’s US e-commerce sales grew 97% (pdf) in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2019, the fastest rate on record for the world’s largest retailer. But the breakneck growth has now slowed to a crawl.”

With new stores, Amazon is trying to take over as much of retail as possible
“Amazon has been investing in expanding its physical presence in urban areas, notably pushing into groceries with its purchase of Whole Foods in 2017.”



Ethical consumption can’t be the burden of shoppers alone
“It can be hard for consumers to gather all the information needed to make fully informed decisions, and even supposedly ethical shoppers don’t always make ethics the top priority in their purchases.”