E-commerce is a constantly changing sphere. New tendencies in e-commerce appear every year. If brands want to be one-step ahead of competitors, they should keep their eye on the ball. That’s especially important during COVID-19.
What should brands consider to achieve success? Here are five key online shopping trends that are shaping e-commerce now.
Generation X and Boomers like online shopping too
Do you think that only Gen Z and millennials make online purchases? It’s the most common delusion. Gen X and Boomers are now the fastest-growing groups of online buyers. So, according to GWI Zetgeist research, Boomers are 17% more likely to purchase/browse products online than Gen Z. This tendency can be seen worldwide.
British Boomers and Gen X like online shopping even more than British Zoomers and Boomers. 86.1% of British Boomers and 87.5% of British Gen X buy products online monthly (Let’s compare, 85.6% and 86.0% of British Zoomers and millennials shop on the Internet accordingly). (source: DataReportal)
Moreover, older consumers make online purchases in many areas. In fact, Baby Boomers order groceries online 25% more frequently than younger audiences and spend 35% more on household items, such as cleaning supplies and paper products.
Now, you know that older audiences shop in-store and use the internet for their purchases. Additionally, brands should consider that 54% of Gen X are frustrated with brands because they think that they ignore them to cater to Millenials, and 27% of Gen X think that brands don’t advertise in a way that reflects their lifestyle and experiences.
Sustainability and delivery is top priority
COVID-19 had a significant influence on brands and customers. Users were compelled to hunker down at home and take up online shopping more than before. While a lot of brands suffered, there were some notable winners.
Our first example is Ready to Eat food delivery. According to McKinsey research, the USA’s market doubled during the pandemic. It was a similar story in the UK. The country’s largest supermarket chain, Tesco, paid attention to consumers’ preferences, doubled the size of their online presence, launched a digital customer platform, and increased profit by 19.7% in 2021.
The second example features sustainability. The pandemic has prompted billions to consider more sustainable behavior. The popularity of Google searches relating to sustainable goods has increased by 71% globally since 2016.
Consumers most often make sustainable or ethical purchases in the categories they deem essential and most frequently buy. This especially manifests when they are shopping for food, clothes, and cosmetic & skincare products. For those categories, consumers are more likely to avoid single-use plastic and instead opt for brands that have environmentally sustainable and more ethical practices and values.
The main reasons consumers haven’t adopted sustainable habits is that they aren’t interested in one and they don’t have enough information. However, as consumers become more aware of their own actions, since the COVID-19 pandemic, more than three in five (62%) believe that brands should operate more sustainably and eco-friendly.
Social media is a new way to make purchases
Social media is a constantly evolving tool for marketing and convenient sales, brands integrate them into their strategy, and consumers use them for shopping. For example, Facebook and Instagram have already added buttons for purchasing right from brands’ posts and stories. TikTok has been testing an option that helps brands add links to their products on profiles and videos. Therefore, social commerce is shopping directly through social media.
Social networks are especially valuable for brands. Firstly, social media is the top source of shopping inspiration for Gen Z, while 62% of 13 to 39 years old consumers are interested in purchasing items directly from their social media feeds. Secondly, one of the most fundamental qualities of social networks is the opportunity to communicate with target consumers. According to Inc research, 72% of millennials are more likely to become loyal customers if brands engage with them on social media.
Thirdly, social commerce offers a seamless path to purchase from browsing to checkout, whether consumers are looking for fashion on Instagram or potential Christmas presents on local retailers’ Facebook pages.
And there’s more! The social commerce market is set to reach $2.9 trillion by the year 2026, with an expected annual growth of 28.4%. So, it is vital that brands use social commerce to boost consumer engagement and brand awareness considering the world’s steady advancement to a less physical means of business.
More consumers are utilizing multiple devices and voice search
Over the last few years, mobiles have become consumers’ preferred channel. Almost 59% of shoppers surveyed by Google have said that mobile-friendly modes of shopping are essential in deciding which brand or retailer to buy from. But smartphones aren’t the only device that users utilize. They have game consoles, smart home devices, desktops, smart speakers, etc. And the number of consumers who use more than five devices to get online has increased 19% since 2019. For example, the smart-speaker market has continued to grow; 55% of American households were expected to own a smart speaker in 2022. According to Juniper Research, that figure should keep climbing as 5G networks come online.
When online shoppers use these devices to browse products online, it clearly impacts what they want to get when they visit a store. They are more likely to want convenience, speed, and self-checkpoints. Half of all consumers have already researched products online by voice because it is faster and more convenient. And even more, 70% of consumers will be using voice to shop instead of going to brick-and-mortar stores in 2022.
Mobile apps are another useful tool for brands, which can help them blend physical and digital footprints and give to consumers all they want to get from online shopping to in-store. Research by Jmango360 shows that 90% of users’ mobile time is spent in apps, and only 10% browsing the rest of the internet. And a lot of brands have already considered that. For example, footwear store DWS created a Smile Counter in their app. Users should download the app and smile for 5 seconds to receive a discount. As a result, sales increased by 10%.
It’s never been more important to offer a seamless user experience across different devices and touchpoints. All the more so 61% of internet users start shopping on one device but continue or complete the process using another. This is a noteworthy fact for brands that aim to improve their strategy.
Concerns about data privacy is still here
As fears over data privacy grow, users become less willing to share their data. Among the consumers surveyed, 30% said there are no circumstances under which they’d share data with brands, only 12% said they’d share data to make ads more relevant, while just 17% would do it to help brands improve their products and services.
Also, concerns about secure online payment are growing, especially in older consumer groups. 73% of older online shoppers are more likely to mention secure payment as a reason to make purchases with a particular online shop compared to Gen Z.
So if brands’ target audience includes older consumers, then they should clarify why collecting their data is necessary and what rights site visitors have.
Online shopping trends will focus on adjusting to the rapidly changing world, growing needs and expectations of the consumer, and improving shopping experience in 2022. Therefore, brands should be on the ball with trends in online shopping in order to take a leading position in the market for the year 2022.