Carousell forecasts e-commerce boom to continue in 2021

Carousell has quickly become one of the world's largest online classifieds, and the circumstances of 2020 have only continued its ascent, as more and more customers go online to shop. With a new year on the horizon and a world still living under the threat of COVID-19, Carousell predicts that the present boom is only just beginning.

In Hong Kong, Carousell saw its active users grow by 40% since last November — at present, more than one in seven locals use the app every month. The company credits this high level of activity to the high penetration of smartphones in Hong Kong in addition to the various social distancing restrictions that have occurred across four different waves of the pandemic this year. 

The app saw extreme growth among older consumers, with shoppers aged 45 and above growing six-fold in 2020. The app's largest demographic, 25-34 year olds, also grew significantly at 4.5x over the previous year.

In terms of products sought, health and beauty led the pack, growing by 54% among users over 2019. Customers seeking electronics, toys and games, home & furniture, women's fashion, and luxury items grew as well, with those categories seeing an average of 30% growth across the board. 

With the added convenience and efficiency of online shopping now being experienced by more users, Carousell expects these trends to continue into next year.

"Two learning points for 2021 stand out from the data. Firstly, industries that provide traditional offline services should seize the opportunity to make their services accessible online. We have seen more home services merchants on our platform this year to combat lower footfall, engage with a new and larger customer base at the virtual frontier and open up new revenue streams. Secondly, small businesses in resilient categories should go digital if they haven’t, as it can buffer potential loss from the physical outlets with diversified revenue streams from an always-open platform," said William Ip, managing director of Carousell.

"As consumers become more aware of how they would like to use online platforms, merchants must be tactical in managing their online business to stand out."