In 2021, as shortages eased, consumers expanded their shopping to include more small- to medium-sized retailers.

Small- to medium-sized (SMB) merchants in the Next 1000 grew at a higher rate in 2021 compared with the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 retailers. (The Top 1000 are large, well-known North American merchants like Inc. and Walmart Inc., ranked by web sales.) That’s a departure from 2020, when the Top 1000 retailers experienced explosive ecommerce growth of 44.8% compared with the Next 1000’s 19.9%. In 2021, the Next 1000 grew 22.8% collectively compared with the Top 1000’s more muted 15.7% growth.

2020 was an exceptional year, when there was widespread panic-buying of staples like toilet paper and cleaning supplies. In many cases, larger merchants were better able than their SMB rivals to meet consumers’ needs, taking advantage of their large shipping and supplier networks. In 2021, as shortages eased, consumers expanded their shopping to include more small- to medium-sized retailers.

Next 1000 retail chains invested in buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) in 2021, with 60.2% offering the feature compared with 44.6% in 2020. With people being less hesitant to shop in store, curbside pickup popularity among Next 1000 retail chains dropped. 26.5% of them offered the feature in 2021 compared with 36.1% in 2020.

Online retail sales growth slowed to 17.8% in 2021 compared with 42.8% in 2020, according to Digital Commerce 360’s analysis of U.S. Department of Commerce data. After trailing the market with only 19.9% growth in 2020, Next 1000 retailers surpassed the growth of U.S. ecommerce in 2021, growing 22.8% year over year. The Next 1000 also exceeded the 15.7% online growth of Top 1000 retailers in 2021 and the 14.4% of total U.S. retail sales.


More Charts & Data stories

This chart is derived from the analysis in our 2022 Next 1000 Report. We add new content regularly. Check back soon for more Charts & Data stories

Silver Members:
The full 2022 Next 1000 Report is available for individual purchase. We also bundle it in our Gold and Platinum memberships for over 50% off.
Contact our research department to learn more and upgrade your membership plan.

Gold and Platinum Members:
Your membership includes this report. You can access and download all Digital Commerce 360 research reports in your account dashboard under

Don’t miss breaking ecommerce news and strategies

Start your complimentary subscription to Digital Commerce 360 News to stay informed on the latest news and trends in ecommerce.


Follow us on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook. Be the first to know when Digital Commerce 360 publishes news content.