Among other key takeaways from the last year, a new report by Adobe predicts e-commerce will top $1 trillion in the next year. Notably, the company’s research shows COVID-19 led to an “extra boost” of $183 billion as consumers shifted behaviors to shop online for daily needs.
“Our Digital Economy Index data is showing that COVID-19 has fast-forwarded e-commerce, driving levels of sales that we had not expected to see for another couple of years,” said from Taylor Schreiner, director at Adobe Digital Insights. “And consumers are not going back. People who successfully purchased loungewear in the last year for instance, are less concerned about the lack of a dressing room.”
At the same time, the report found significant growth in the demographic of consumers who shop online.
“In our latest survey of over 1,000 U.S. consumers, 9 percent of current online shoppers stated that they had not been significant online shoppers before the pandemic,” Schreiner said. “This is a huge cohort of people who are positioned to be surprised and delighted by what digital experiences can offer in a post-pandemic world. Brands and retailers should not miss the opportunity that represents.”
With this in mind, Schreiner said brands should be planning for even more digital traffic.
“Brands should be looking for ways to make digital interactions easier and more delighting while adapting to shoppers looking for new types of experiences post-pandemic,” Schreiner said. “For instance, retailers can take customers who have become loyal purchasers of staple goods and customize messages to them with ideas for their first summer splurge.”
As previously reported by WWD, experts are predicting that “revenge shopping,” or the phenomenon where consumers spend money on items and experiences that they have felt deprived of during the pandemic, is on its way to the U.S.
And as brands look to bolster omnichannel presence by investing in technology and creating digital partnerships, Schreiner told WWD, “the most important question to ask new marketing technology partner is [if they can] enable communication with customers consistently and intelligently across all the consumer touchpoints.”
“Brands and retailers know that connecting data, communications and offerings across channels is very challenging, but it is what consumers expect,” Schreiner said. “During the pandemic, shoppers have rapidly navigated across email, app, retail store, e-commerce and social media as they consider, make and share a purchase. They see that as a journey with one brand. Companies should ask their technology partners if they can fulfill that expectation.”
Notably, a significant number of brands are retailers have invested in offering buy now, pay later payment solutions. Authors of Adobe’s report point out, however, that this boom is in tandem with many consumers struggling with financial uncertainty. Still, experts say the flexible payment option has a certain allure — especially for the younger generations looking to make large purchases.
“BNPL could be an appropriate strategy, depending on the retailer,” Schreiner said. “People, especially younger folks, are reconsidering how they manage their credit. We have seen a tripling of BNPL usage in the past year, especially for goods with above-average price points. For brands selling bigger ticket items, there is a portion of their customer base who would embrace new and different ways to pay.”
According to Adobe’s report, BNPL experienced 215 percent year-over-year growth in the first two months of 2021 and consumers who use the service are being seen placing orders 18 percent larger.
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