GWI has released research data on ecommerce trends and audience behavior. Some of the statistics are not surprising, but other results point towards a shift in customer behavior towards more mindful buying. We've consolidated the most pertinent aspects of the report, of which ecommerce business owners should be aware.
Keeping up with the Joneses
In 2021 the ecommerce statistics show that there was an 8% drop in the number of consumers who are brand loyal. The tightening of budgets means that certain high-end brands won't be able to rely on their logo as much as before. Americans are less bothered about showing off than they were in the past.
Even though interest in influencers is increasing year-on-year, the number of Gen Z who use social media to follow influencers has dropped by a significant 22% in Q2 2021. Of course, this downward trend doesn't mean that influencers won't be useful in promoting brands. Still, it does show that users are looking for inspirational content rather than product promotions.
The consumer has evolved in how they interact with brands representing a social cause important to them. As a result, more people are consciously moving towards brands that make a difference in the community. According to the ecommerce trends report, 62% of US consumers care about the impact of social injustice issues.
eCommerce businesses need to do more than throw some marketing messages out to show support. Instead, companies must get actively involved in making a change and creating an impact. Below are a few examples of how consumers want brands to change.
However, consumers want companies to prioritize listening to their feedback over social responsibility. The three most important priorities for consumers in order are:
- Listen to feedback
- Improve your day-to-day life
- Be socially responsible
What about the environment?
“Frankly, my dear, I don't give a hoot,” or something along those lines is the current attitude towards environmental issues. This isn't to say that the average person no longer cares about the impact of brands on the environment. It's more that people are starting to suffer from crisis fatigue or, in other terms: doomism.
With so many problems on the table, such as COVID, mass shootings, and the war in Ukraine, adding environmental issues to the pile may be too much for some people. In addition, a recession is looming. When that happens, concern for the environment decreases, and people focus on navigating the economic climate to survive.
Businesses in sustainability markets may struggle to justify prices for what consumers may not see as necessary. As a result, brands need to devise innovative ways to incentivize consumers to consider the environmental impact of their behaviors.
A good example is some stores' plastic recycling bins, which generate coupons for consumers who deposit their recyclable plastics. The person feels like they're doing something good for the planet while getting rewarded for it increases the chances for the action to become a habit.
Some people may not care enough to try to save the earth without a benefit or reward for their efforts.
The demand for avatars and personalization in the virtual world may spill over into the shopping sphere. For example, 62% of potential metaverse users say they will likely use the space to browse for shopping products such as clothing and accessories.
This information, coupled with the virtual fitting rooms launched by Walmart, may soon have online clothing stores scrambling to make their shopping experience unique to attract Gen Z and millennials.
To some extent, even Gen X and baby boomers are also excited about online personalization options. In the US, 76% of online gamers are interested in avatars. The personalization of characters is predicted to spill over into the Metaverse.
Brands rely on captivating images and layouts to entice consumers into making impulse purchases. This trend stays true for younger consumers, such as Gen Z and millennials. Baby boomers and Gen X tend to take a more practical approach to online shopping.
One trend carries across all ages, and that is taking advantage of sales or deals. This behavior could also be due to the economy's downturn due to COVID, so making impulse purchases may only feel justifiable when there are items on sale. The buyer journey is also of utmost importance, with speed and convenience playing a significant role in impulse purchasing.
34% of consumers state that easy or quick online checkout processes are a key factor in online shopping. In addition, social media “buy” buttons are one of the common reasons for impulse buying, according to 21% of Gen Z and millennials.
Ensure your UX design and functionality are optimized to capitalize on impulse purchases. Another factor that also plays a significant role is same-day or next-day delivery options. Online shoppers don't want to wait for their orders, so ecommerce stores that offer super-fast deliveries will have an advantage over slower competitors.
Over the last few years, there have been some changes to the demographics of the typical internet user. Surprisingly 50% of female users prefer to spend their time online. Unfortunately, this means that businesses that don't have an online presence are missing out on a massive chunk of the spending population.
White males are more interested in the Metaverse, with only 37% of females saying they care. However, this may be because the gaming industry currently dominates the virtual space. It's not that far-fetched to understand that women will quickly adapt if the Metaverse offers interactive activities such as virtual shopping.
The LGBTQ+ community emphasizes the importance of being able to personalize their online avatars. Being able to customize their avatar's appearance, clothing, and gender choices appeals to this community. More so than other consumer sectors.
75% of the LGBTQ+ community want to customize their avatar's appearance, and 76% said they wanted to change the clothing on their characters.
According to the ecommerce statistics, clothing is still the number one purchase for consumers when they want to treat themselves on a budget. Second on the list are takeaways or food deliveries, and third is technology or electronic products.
This list represents the global consumer study. However, if you segment the list by gender and age, the dynamic does change. For example, one trend that looks like it may make a comeback from the 2001 recession is the “lipstick index.”
This term was coined by the chairman of Estee Lauder, Leonard Lauder. Lipstick sales rose in the 3rd quarter of that year, indicating that women facing uncertainty about the economic environment turn to beauty products as affordable reward purchases.
Stores such as Walmart have taken advantage of these trends and have rebooted their beauty department, offering shoppers beauty products for as little as $3.
Since the pandemic has declined, travel markets are on the rise. Even though the levels are lower than they were in the 4th quarter of 2019, they are slowly improving. 86% of US consumers have chosen to travel locally, while 57% have decided to go on vacation internationally. Just over 90% of consumers say they plan to take a break in the next 12 months (according to GWI Travel data).
Many people believe that breaks away are essential for maintaining their well-being. These factors are what travel brands should consider when trying to catch consumers' attention.
Brands might be surprised by what the ecommerce statistics show as deciding factors for sales. For example, if you think the price is a significant factor, think again. Only 36% of consumers listed the cost as a deciding aspect for supporting a specific brand.
53% stated that quality was what made them buy a particular product. In addition, 31% said that excellent brand reviews and a reputation are essential to them. However, surprisingly only 15% of consumers place importance on whether a brand is involved in combating climate change. This stat fits the earlier premise that consumers are tired of the ‘Save the Planet' agenda.
The ecommerce trends are changing. Not only are people's behaviors changing, but the changes are happening much faster. In the past public sentiment towards brands and economic activity was a slow-rolling river; now, it's a tsunami.
Often businesses may only realize that there has been a shift in perceptions once it's too late. Therefore, being active on social media, doing surveys, and keeping on top of market fashions are imperative for staying ahead.
You also don't want to ignore the changes thinking you can ride it out; doing so will be at your peril and likely result in economic disaster.