Deals, Decor, DIY: trends that defined ecommerce in Q4 2020

Jan 27, 2021


Madeline Lenahan

Jan 27, 2021

Communications & Content Manager

Shopping habits changed in 2020. Instead of wandering into brick-and-mortar businesses, we spent hours window shopping on the internet. And, if you’re anything like me, you relied a little too heavily on that “Add to Cart” button for a quick rush of quarantine-style serotonin.

The proof? Other than the pile of boxes in the corner of my room?  US Shopping app sessions increased 65.9% YoY in Q4. A session occurs every time someone opens and uses an app. More sessions, more sales.  

That stat is impressive on its own, but just scratches the surface of people's online shopping activity. To properly illustrate the influx of digital consumers, especially during the holiday season, we teamed up with internet software company Semrush.

With Semrush providing website traffic data, and Apptopia providing app estimates, we were able to create a uniquely comprehensive report on the ecommerce space. Together, we identify the top brands, via their websites and mobile apps, for online shopping in Q4 2020.

Q4 2020 Digital Shopping Performance Report by Apptopia + Semrush
Get my report

Below, I share the consumer trends that made themselves abundantly clear as we analyzed different retail segments. While we mention these themes briefly throughout the report, we felt that they deserved a little more "air time," as they say, so here we go.

Budget, Bulk, B-O-G-O

Never 👏 Pay 👏 Retail 👏. With wholesale, coupon, and consignment sites, consumers can now find deals on almost anything...and boy, were they hungry for those budget-friendly options in Q4. 

Americans flocked to digital superstores for their fair prices, convenience, and wide-range of products. Amazon, Walmart, and Target were the top-shopped ecommerce businesses in the US. Wholesalers, of course, performed well too. BJ's Wholesale Club increased monthly active app users 114% and website visits 28% YoY in the US. 

But it wasn't enough to find stores that offer good deals. Consumers took it one step further by finding specific cost-cutting tools.  'Buy Now, Pay Later' businesses, which allow you to pay in installments, experienced their best quarter yet,  increasing app installs 135.7% and web visits 46.5% YoY.  Similarly, coupon website CouponXOO increased web visits a whopping 742% YoY. 


Small Business Saturday Everyday

Every meal ordered out in 2020 was justified by the "support small business" mantra. Make no mistake, this mantra applies to all goods, not just food. 

Consumer-to-consumer marketplace apps OfferUp and eBay achieved a "stickiness" score of over 90% in the US.  On the website side of this market, Rebag and Depop grew the most, both increasing visits about 100% YoY. While some people were trying to declutter their lives, others were searching for discounted versions of their favorite fashion— win, win.

Etsy, the marketplace app for small businesses, grew its monthly active users 98% and achieved a stickiness score of 92.4%. Now, even the richest man in the world is shopping on Etsy! And for a hand knit wool Marvin the Martian helm for his dog, no less.

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This year was all about embracing— or becoming— a local seller, crafter, candle-maker, or consignment queen.  And on that note...

Love it or List it (flip it and reverse it?!)

Yes, we're talking about home edits and renovations. Dissatisfied with their quarantine dwelling, or having just moved to a new one, people went from baking to building real quick. 

Lowe's, Home Depot, and Wayfair had strong years because of this, all qualifying as a top ecommerce website in the US (by website traffic). Ikea, while not on the list below, did stand out as the #1 fastest growing  brick-and-mortar retailer website. On the app side, we note that Lowe's grew its monthly active user base 133% and Home Depot grew theirs 86% YoY.  

Top Ecommerce websites by traffic (1)Online > In-person

After having social distanced for almost an entire year, we've found digital alternatives to nearly everything. While we wish some things would return to normal (real happy hours > Zoom happy hours), online shopping is one trend that's going to stick. 

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From curbside pickup options, to free returns, digital retailers adjusted to meet the needs of the moment. In doing so, they accelerated their growth, and potentially captured a life-long audience. 

Not convinced? Get the data behind these trends. Click below to download our Q4 2020 Digital Shopping Performance Report.  

Q4 2020 Digital Shopping Performance Report by Apptopia + Semrush
Get my report

Madeline Lenahan

Communications & Content Manager