E-commerce trend indicator 2021

Online shopping E-commerce trend indicator 2021

Published on 06.10.2021 by Tiziana Gaito, Research Assistant and Lecturer, University of Applied Sciences in Business Administration Zurich (HWZ) and Ricarda Raemy, Customer Insights Specialist, Post CH Ltd

What are the long-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on online retail? Which trends are establishing themselves or becoming even more pronounced in the second year of the coronavirus pandemic?

The Swiss e-commerce trend indicator, which investigates the habits and preferences of more than 11,000 Swiss consumers online, provides some answers. The annual study is carried out by the University of Applied Sciences in Business Administration Zurich (HWZ) and Swiss Post.

Online shopping is part of everyday life

Swiss consumers are shopping significantly more often online. In 2019, 14 percent of consumers aged 55 and over shopped online on a weekly basis; in 2021, this figure is already at 19 percent. The most popular reasons for shopping online are independence of opening hours (78 percent) and home delivery of purchases (78 percent). But, for around 40 percent of those surveyed, the coronavirus pandemic is also a significant reason. When it comes to delivery options, “Click & Collect” in particular has increased in importance compared to 2020 (+5 percent), possibly due to lockdown.

It is not surprising that fewer travel (-6 percent) and event tickets (-3 percent) were purchased compared to 2019. On the other hand, however, consumers purchased more computers and accessories (+7 percent), cosmetics (+6 percent) and groceries (+6 percent) online.

Online music and film subscriptions are popular

Questions about online subscriptions were asked for the first time this year. Over two thirds of consumers under 35 have an online subscription, as well as just under one third of those over 65. Subscriptions for films and music are particularly popular across all age groups.

TWINT is increasingly popular

While mobile payment solutions have been gaining popularity for a long time, the second year of the coronavirus pandemic appears to have accelerated this trend even further. In 2021, 40 percent of those surveyed stated that they preferred TWINT as an online payment option. That is 11 percent more than in the previous year.

Graphic payment methods
Graphic payment methods

Starting product searches in search engines

Nearly 80 percent start their online shopping product searches in search engines (e.g. Google or Bing), 35 percent directly at Digitec/Galaxus and 21 percent at Zalando. When shopping on marketplaces, price and product comparisons (68 percent) are particularly important. Consumers also expect lower prices (53 percent).

Customer support via e-mail preferred

It is interesting that across all age groups, around 90 percent of those surveyed stated that e-mail was their preferred form of customer support when shopping online. That is almost 20 percent more than in the previous year. In contrast, customer support via social media is slightly less favoured compared to the previous year.

Overall, the changes in consumer behaviour that occurred last year due to the coronavirus pandemic have also continued this year. The trend towards digitization continues – not just for online shopping, but also when it comes to payment options.


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Due to the current situation, Connecta Bern will again be held as a digital event in 2021. Connecta is renowned for shining a light on the diverse nature of digitization and this year will be no different with content presented across the three formats of Connecta Blog, Connecta TV and Connecta Talk. Find out more here: www.swisspost.ch/connecta.



For additional, more detailed results, visit swisspost.ch/digital-commerce-studies

Ricarda Raemy

Customer Insights Specialist, Post CH Ltd

Tiziana Gaito

Research assistant at the University of Applied Sciences in Business Administration Zurich (HWZ)

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