Retail categories driving ecommerce growth

Auto and parts and food and beverage will be the fastest-growing ecommerce categories; both will see double-digit growth but from a relatively small base.

Computers and consumer electronics and apparel and accessories—two categories that already generate a large portion of sales through ecommerce but are still growing steadily—will be the largest contributors to overall ecommerce sales growth, in terms of dollars.

Fastest-Growing Ecommerce Categories

Despite overall retail returning to a more normal pace of growth this year, the pandemic will still have an impact on certain product categories. Many of the factors driving growth in 2022 in the four fastest-growing categories will be directly tied to the pandemic and its aftermath.

  • Auto and parts (30.1% YoY growth): Several pandemic-driven factors revved up demand for used cars, which benefited auto ecommerce companies like Carvana and Vroom. We expect sales from these companies to remain strong in 2022, bolstering sales growth in an ecommerce category with a comparatively underdeveloped ecommerce presence.
  • Food and beverage (20.7% YoY growth): This category was growing swiftly from a low base prior to 2020. But the pandemic was a huge accelerator of digital-grocery adoption, which has driven online sales of food and beverage. This change in behavior will stick post-pandemic, further driving ecommerce sales.
  • Apparel and accessories (15.4% YoY growth): Consumers slowly emerging from their pandemic-lockdown cocoons made apparel and accessories the fastest-growing ecommerce category in 2021. It will continue to be a high-growth category this year, as new coronavirus variants and resurging cases have further delayed many weddings and other formal events, as well as return-to-office plans.
  • Health, personal care, and beauty (15.1% YoY growth): The pandemic increased online purchases of everyday essentials, including hygiene products and toiletries. The same factors causing apparel ecommerce sales to spike—the resumption of weddings and other formal events—will also drive growth in the beauty sector.

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