Note from the editor

Like so many other digital trends, e-commerce accelerated from a growing opportunity to a necessity during the coronavirus pandemic. Even as the economy reopens, certain consumer behaviors could persist, likely making e-commerce a key tactic for marketers going forward.

Companies that were already building up their e-commerce arsenal are experiencing a windfall from the current online shopping boom. E-commerce now accounts for 14% of P&G's sales at the global level, while rival Unilever plans to invest heavily to support high-growth business segments like e-commerce. 

On the platform end, emerging platforms like TikTok have joined industry leaders like Google in rolling out new e-commerce features and services for merchants, which have become a central focus for retailers. Getting e-commerce right will be increasingly important as Gen Z's buying power grows since the cohort is less tolerant of poor digital shopping experiences and will quickly move on from brands that can't deliver.

This report details what is defining the current e-commerce landscape, including:

  • How M&M's direct-to-consumer strategy outpaces its CPG rivals
  • Why brands are opting for marketing M&A to address e-commerce needs
  • How livestream shopping is quickly becoming a key tactic for marketers 

E-commerce is a rapidly evolving space, but these stories serve as a reference point for what's becoming one of the foundational business trends as the funnel between marketing and sales shrinks. We hope this provides some actionable takeaways. 

Correction: A prior version of this story misstated how much of P&G's global sales come from e-commerce. E-commerce accounts for 14% of the mix.

Chris Kelly Reporter

Brands grow bolder with marketing M&A to fill steep orders on data, e-commerce

An emergence of "asynchronous buyers" like Yum Brands and Walmart speaks to how marketers are asserting greater control in the face of an uncertain future.

• Published March 23, 2021

What's old is new: Brands craving connection with consumers turn to livestreaming

Video e-commerce goes live in the U.S., and retailers pin their hopes on its success.

• Published May 19, 2021

Brands could lose fickle Gen Zers over poor digital shopping experiences

• Published April 16, 2021

M&M's leads CPG brands on DTC strategy

• Published March 12, 2021

Google scales data-driven Ads, e-commerce push in preparation for cookie deprecation

• Published May 28, 2021

Walmart streamlines shopping with So Yummy cooking competition

• Published May 19, 2021

TikTok pitches brands on 'community-based commerce' while pushing past Gen Z image

At its second NewFronts, the platform highlighted its power in driving consumer interest and sales for American Eagle, Ocean Spray and feta cheese.

• Published May 7, 2021

Netflix enters e-commerce fray as subscription growth slows

• Published June 11, 2021

The world of e-commerce post-pandemic

E-commerce skyrocketed in 2021 from an emerging opportunity due to the coronavirus pandemic. Even after vaccine rollouts and social distancing mandates drop, consumers will likely remain wary of physical shopping, making e-commerce a key tactic marketers may adjust toward for the long haul.

included in this trendline
  • M&M's leads CPG brands on DTC strategy
  • Netflix enters e-commerce fray as subscription growth slows
  • TikTok pitches brands on 'community-based commerce' while pushing past Gen Z image
Our Trendlines go deep on the biggest trends. These special reports, produced by our team of award-winning journalists, help business leaders understand how their industries are changing.
Davide Savenije Editor-in-Chief at Industry Dive.