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Top Ecommerce Categories of 2021

See how consumer shopping behavior is changing over time with insights from Jungle Scout’s Q2 2021 Consumer Trends Report

This report answers the following questions:

  • What kinds of products are consumers currently buying?
  • What product categories gained the most traction in 2021?
  • Where are consumers prioritizing their spending in 2021? 

Insights will be updated quarterly, check back for the most recent data.

 

Top product categories in 2021

Overall, consumers are buying more groceries, cleaning supplies, and vitamins, while buying less clothing, electronics, and office supplies. 

Product Category Consumers buying more Consumers buying the same amount Consumers buying less Consumers who never buy in this category
Automotive Parts & Accessories 15% 43% 20% 22%
Electronics (TVs, smart watches, etc.) 19% 46% 23% 12%
Groceries 37% 53% 8% 2%
Arts, Crafts & Sewing (paints, ceramics, etc.) 24% 30% 19% 27%
Home & Kitchen (furniture, coffee makers, etc.) 21% 46% 20% 14%
Office supplies (laptop stands, printer paper, etc.) 20% 43% 20% 17%
Pet supplies (cat/dog food, toys, etc.) 21% 46% 7% 26%
Books (print or digital), Magazines & Newspapers 24% 42% 17% 17%
Clothing 24% 45% 27% 4%
Beauty & Personal Care (cosmetics, shaving kit, etc.) 24% 53% 16% 7%
Toys & Games (board games, children’s toys, etc.) 21% 34% 16% 29%
Garden & Outdoor (patio furniture, plants, etc.) 22% 39% 19% 21%
Exercise/Fitness supplies (at-home gym equipment, etc.) 22% 31% 15% 33%
Over-the-counter medicine 20% 58% 13% 8%
Cleaning supplies 35% 53% 8% 4%
Alcohol 20% 36% 17% 28%
Vitamins & Dietary Supplements 27% 52% 11% 11%
Tobacco, Pipes & Accessories 16% 26% 12% 46%

While essential items are still key, individuals are spending more on products that make them feel good and support their hobbies. Nearly 1 in 4 consumers are spending more on beauty and personal care, and 21% are spending more on toys and games.

Compared to last quarter, consumers have made more purchases in the following categories:

  • Garden & Outdoor – up 83%
  • Office Supplies – up 33%
  • Automotive Parts & Accessories – up 25%
  • Exercise & Fitness – up 24% 

In general, consumers are buying less alcohol — purchases in this category are down 6% since last quarter. 

In addition to new products, consumers are interested in buying and selling pre-owned items. Nearly a third (32%) say they are looking for pre-owned products when they shop online, and 44% of consumers have bought or sold a pre-owned item online over the last 12 months.

The most popular pre-owned items include clothing, books, and electronics. 

Pre-owned products purchased U.S. consumers
Clothing 41%
Books 33%
Electronics 30%
Furniture 24%
Jewelry 23%
Sporting goods 22%
Watches 22%
Tools and Home Care  21%
Exercise Equipment 20%
Bikes 16%
Musical Instruments 14%
Cars 13%
Other 9%

Consumer focus areas for 2021

In 2021, consumers are prioritizing family, physical and mental health, and finances. 

Focus area U.S. consumers
Family 65%
Physical health and well-being 48%
Mental health and well-being 42%
Finances 39%
Friends 37%
Pets 36%
Hobbies and interests 34%
Spirituality 27%
Spending time outside 27%
Love life 26%
Career 25%
Politics/Civic engagement 18%
Education 17%
Travel 14%
Other 1%

Which priorities changed the most since last quarter? 

Consumers are showing renewed interest in travel (up 41%) and socializing (up 23%), while focusing less on politics ( down 8%). While health remains a main focus area for many consumers, data indicates it’s a less pressing concern a year after the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

How consumer focus areas have shifted since Q1 2021: 

  • Travel – up 41% 
  • Education – up 34%
  • Friends – up 23% 
  • Mental health and well-being – down 14%
  • Physical health and well-being – down 8%
  • Politics and civic engagement – down 8%

People are eager to resume public, pre-pandemic activities like dining indoors, attending weddings and in-person sporting events, and getting beauty treatments at salons. Many already feel comfortable traveling and sharing indoor spaces with others, which could inform what they shop for in Q2 and beyond. 

In addition, some consumers plan to stop certain socially-distanced activities, like exercising, working, and cooking at home, in the next 12 months. Accordingly, we could see increased purchases in product categories related to work commutes, travel, and attending events in-person. 

Activity Consumers doing more of this in last 12 months Consumers planning to continue this in next 12 months Percent of consumers planning to drop activity
Watching movies/TV 55% 42% 13%
Cooking at home 50% 38% 12%
Cleaning 44% 31% 13%
Purchasing goods online 39% 26% 13%
Making coffee at home 37% 27% 10%
Reading 36% 27% 9%
Video calls with family or friends 35% 24% 11%
Exercising at home 35% 28% 7%
Sleeping more 34% 20% 14%
Eating healthy 34% 29% 5%
Purchasing groceries online 30% 22% 8%
Working from home 27% 19% 8%
Home improvement projects 23% 16% 7%
DIY activities 20% 14% 6%
Starting/running a business 10% 7% 3%

For more insights about how consumers spend in general and online, check out Jungle Scout’s latest Consumer Trends Report

 

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