Last year over two billion people made use of the internet to purchase goods or services online and e-retail sales surpassed $4.2 trillion globally according to Statista. Internet access and adoption rapidly increases worldwide along with the number of digital buyers.
Factors Influencing Trends
Three broad factors have been identified as having a significant influence when it comes to online commerce. Let’s examine each factor briefly.
Growing Market Share
As of 2020 online marketplaces account for the largest share of online purchases globally. During a recent survey it was found that retailer websites and apps generated 26% of purchases while digital marketplaces accounted for 47% market share. Amazon ranks at the top when it comes to global ranking of online retail websites. The e-commerce giant is said to have registered over 5.2 billion unique visitors in June 2020. In terms of GMV (gross merchandise value) the company trails behind the Alibaba Group.
The Rising Adoption of Mobile
One of the most visible trends at this time is the unprecedented usage of mobile devices. During 2019 smartphones accounted for over 60% of global retail website visits. As the adoption of mobile devices progresses at a rapid pace, this is likely to continue to have an influence on ecommerce. South Korea generates up to 65% of their total online transaction volume through mobile traffic. M-commerce (mobile commerce) is the use of mobile devices to conduct commercial transactions online including the purchase and sale of products, banking and paying the bills. M-commerce is very popular across Asia and is gaining momentum in other places globally as well. Some of the largest e-commerce markets include: France, Japan, Germany, United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
Impact of COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a significant influence on e-commerce and consumer behavior. Digital channels became a popular alternative to in-person shopping as millions of people stayed at home during the early days of the pandemic. During June 2020 global retail e-commerce traffic reached a staggering 22 billion monthly visits, bringing with it a high demand for daily items such as groceries, clothing as well as retail tech items. It is expected that the pandemic will continue to influence e-commerce throughout the remainder of this year.
Trending in e-Commerce
TRUiC Research emphasizes the differences between various Website builders. It is a reliable fact: that Website builders can expect the e-commerce market to increase, due to increasing internet connectivity, rising penetration of smartphones and the increasing adoption of m-commerce. Three interesting trends with regards to e-commerce includes:
AR to Enhance Online Shopping
Augmented reality (AR) would afford consumers the experience of “seeing” the items they are shopping for from the comfort of their homes. In industries such as fashion and home decor it would help the customer get a better feel for how something will look without going out and seeing the product in person. A 2019 prediction by Gartner states that 100 million consumers will shop using AR by 2020. A Google Consumer Survey found that 6 in 10 people want to be able to “visualize where and how a product could fit into their lives,” lending credence to the viability of AR for shopping.
Micheal Prusich, Director of Business Development at 1Digital Agency stated that, “Polls have shown some really powerful numbers in regards to AR too: 35% of people say that they would be shopping online more if they could virtually try on a product before buying it, and 22% would be less likely to visit a brick-and-mortar store if AR was available via their favorite e-commerce store.”
AI to Learn About Shoppers
Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes it possible for businesses to present automated and personalised shopping experiences for consumers. In order to make this possible AI continuously collects data on consumer shopping habits.
Ron Smith remarks that, “People want to know that brands care about them and AI will be programmed accordingly. We have seen the opposite behaviour on social media, where AI’s learn from humans’ more negative remarks, but it’s highly likely that consumers will crave the impact.”
Ultra-personalized versus Generic
Luis Catter, Conversion Rate Optimization Expert at Kensium Solutions offers one viewpoint of how personalization will continue to evolve. “As the tech giants continue to expand and bring more services in-house personalization will eventually make its way to the internet of things.” According to Luis in addition to seeing suggestions on search engines or shopping platforms, some individuals will have ultra-personalized experiences while other individuals who choose to opt out of data collection programs will have a different experience. These two very different user experiences will undoubtedly impact how marketers will reach new users.
Whether it is paying the bills via mobile or carefully examining new home decor through an AR shopping experience, one thing is certain: the nature of shopping is undergoing a dramatic facelift with exciting future developments possibly in store.
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