Every year our specialists, based on the opinion of top eCommerce managers and people from the industry, prepare a summary of eCommerce trends. Our reports are read by thousands of people responsible for the eCommerce industry around the world. Here we present eCommerce Trends from 2017 to 2018.
eCommerce investments in 2017
Cloud Hosting, Content Marketing and Email Automation were the most popular investments in 2017!
eCommerce investments in 2018
Content Marketing is the most important area of interest for eCommerce Managers right now
“Combining content marketing, big data and machine learning will help us to understand what our customers want in more detail. The automated analysis and interpretation of content related data will become a real game changer” – Raimund Herms, eCommerce Consultant, Berlin, Germany
2018 is the year of Intelligent Content Marketing.
“I believe that inspirational and influential marketing will play a big role in how people search for products to buy. For example, ScreenShop is a new app that will search the items in a photo and tell you where it can be purchased” – Shai Atanelov, eCommerce Consultant, Israel
What are the business trends that are going to revolutionize the eCommerce market in the next five years?
Business Intelligence and AI in general will be the ultimate tools for retail in the long run.
For the typical retailer, leveraging AI will require a technology partner. This provides a huge opportunity for many new startups that will create, evaluate and develop optimal ways of using AI for retail.
Worth reading: THE AI 100. 2018.
eCommerce Trends for 2018
B2C eCommerce Sales: 10% share
eCommerce share of total global retail
- 26% (1.66 billion) of people are eShoppers in 2017.
- 10% of total retail will be online.
- eCommerce Growth is largely driven by sales in China (30% growth rate).
- China and the US represent about 70% of global eCommerce.
- Western Europe has the slowest eCommerce sales growth rate at 12%.
- Where to invest – The 2017 Global Retail eCommerce Index™ by AtKearney: Asia is still the leading region for eCommerce sales. India overtook China in terms of market attractiveness.
B2B eCommerce Sales: 11% share
B2B companies are eager to invest in:
• Automated pricing optimization – 62%
• Personalized recommendations – 56%
• Use of wearable computing in distribution centers – 49%
• Sensors in shipments/products – 46%
• Robots/automation in distribution center/supply chain – 34%
• Shopping cart abandonment analysis – 32%
Nearly 75% of B2B buyers say buying from an eCommerce site is more convenient that buying from a sales rep.
- Forrester expects eCommerce to reach $889 billion and represent 11% of total B2B sales in the US in 2017.
- 86% of B2B organizations say customers can make purchases via their website; only 14% offer no online purchasing options.
- 92% of B2B organizations rely on email marketing to promote online sales.
- Today, 74% of B2B buyers research at least one-half of their work purchases online.
Digital Media: 10% growth
- Revenue in the “Digital Media” market amounted to $100 bln in 2017 (10% growth from 2016).
- The market’s largest segment is “Digital Games”.
- The US is the largest consumer of digital media followed by China, Japan, the United Kingdom and South Korea.
- The average revenue per user (ARPU) in the “Video-on-Demand” segment amounted to $55 in 2017 (about a 10% increase from the previous year).
Top eRetailers: China is growing
Top 10 eRetailers sites in the world based on traffic:
- JD.com (3th last year)
- Apple (2)
- Suning (10)
- Otto (5)
- Tesco (6)
- Vipshop Holdings Limited (new)
- Liberty (8)
- Macy’s (7).
Learn more about eCommerce leaders from China.
- eCommerce accounts for the majority of the sales growth for many retailers today.
- Omnichannel retailers dominate the world of eRetailing.
- Alibaba is often cited as the largest e-retailer in the world but they mostly make money through sales on their marketplaces. They do however own a stake in Suning.
- The fastest growing eRetailer from the list is Vipshop (128%) and Suning (71%)
The World’s Most Popular eCommerce Sites
Top 10 eCommerce sites in the world based on traffic:
Capital Market: Amazon+Whole Foods
- Amazon’s $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods was the news of the year.
- PetSmart acquired Chewy.com for $3.35 billion in the largest eCommerce acquisition ever (Jet by Walmart last year was 3.3 billion).
- Blue Apron has struggled since its disappointing IPO in June
- SNAP disappointed analysts after its first earnings report in May and many of its features have been copied by Facebook.
- ICO – anyone can participate as an investor online, physical location matters much less. Projects are already getting crowdfunded.
- EON-ID – RFID as a thread in clothing allows you to trace every piece of clothing, recycle better, build seamless checkouts, verify authenticity, etc.
- Hullabalook – beautiful and playful online shopping experiences that help customers find the products they want to buy faster and more easily.
- Clarifai.com – visual recognition API. Automatically tag, organize, and search visual content with machine learning.
Social Media: Instant video
- 2+ billion people are active on social media, this will grow to 2.5 billion in 2018.
- 58% of B2C companies consider investing time and money in social media valuable whereas the number for B2B companies is 46%.
- Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook stories have led to the popularity of ephemeral content – it is shared for up to 24 hours and then disappears forever.
- In 2017 90% of all content shared by users on social media was video.
- Advertising revenue for Snapchat is predicted to rise nearly 3000% in the next 3 years.
Design Trends: Design Systems
- Design System is a set of tools to help designers produce a cohesive, high quality User Experience.
- DesignOps is a new role in organizations.
- AI for Design is growing – eg. http://www.adobe.com/sensei.html or https://thegrid.io/.
- Fonts and colors are taking the place of images – for mobile especially.
- Social Media has made micro-interactions extremely popular.
- Designers with a background in mobile-first are beginning to make sticky menu items stick to the bottom of the site, as opposed to the top.
- SVG – you can expect this to overtake more traditional file formats such as PNG, GIF and JPG.
- 50% of Europeans are shopping online and 50% of these shoppers engage in cross-border shopping.
- 82% of the world’s consumers have already shopped for products abroad but for the most part, they prefer to buy on global marketplaces with strong reputations.
- Marketplaces offer a real opportunity for merchants to boost their bottom lines. Retailers can get visibility in a foreign market without investing too much time or money. 16
- The marketplace business model – commission for sales that varies from 2.5% to 15% depending on the number of sales and product categories. Unlike price comparison sites, marketplaces don’t charge a few cents every time shoppers are referred to merchant sites and instead charge only when a sale is made.
Marketplaces offer a logical starting point for retailers looking to expand internationally as they offer low barriers of entry and less risk than setting up a domestic website for each country.
Niche marketplaces dominate national markets:
- UK – Play.com (Rakuten) and PriceRunner
- Germany – Zalando and Otto
- Poland – Allegro
- Spain – Popular sites in Spain include BuyVIP and eBay.es. However, Amazon is the most dominant marketplace
- France – RueDuCommerce, Cdiscount, Fnac, La Redoute and PriceMinister are among the leaders in the space, in addition to Amazon. Nine out of the top fifteen ecommerce sites visited by French shoppers are marketplaces
Content Marketing: Video and professionalization
- The line between content marketing and publishing will continue to blur in 2018.
- There will be more on-line video broadcasting.
- Marketers will release their own, episode-based content.
- According to Gartner, 20% of business content could be machine-generated by 2018.
- 48% of marketers plan to add YouTube to their content distribution channels in 2018, 46% plan to do the same for Facebook video distribution.
- Content marketers should find ways to optimize content for virtual assistants.
HubSpot’s “State of Inbound 2017”
Conversational Commerce: Millennials got it
“Bet big on voice and messaging. Facebook is to roll out voice-based services in 2018, Walmart teamed up with Google to leverage Home for voice shopping and Amazon sees voice as the natural path to follow. All in all, it makes no doubt voice will be one significant ingredient of your eCommerce recipe in the future. Communication-wise, bots and expected advancements in messaging experience will have the potential to take your customer service to another level” – Denys Malengreau, eCommerce Consultant, Brussels, Belgium
- There are 100,000 monthly active bots on Facebook Messenger
- The quickest adaptors to chatbots are currently millennials, with nearly 60% having already used chatbots and 71% saying they would like to try a chatbot experience.
Virtual Assistants: Amazon is way ahead, still
- Last year we estimated that 2017 would be the year of the bot! We think we got it right.
- In 2017, 35.6 million Americans used a voice-activated assistant device at least once a month. An increase of 128.9% over the previous year.
- Echo speaker will have 70.6% of users.
- Google Home will have just 23.8% of the market.
- Where can Google compete with Alexa? Search, DeepMind, Android user-base
- Where can Microsoft compete With Alexa? Business users
- What about Apple? HomeKit connected home solution, apple-tv
- The broader category of Virtual Assistants (Alexa, Siri, Google Now, Cortana) – usage grew 23.1% in 2017. This year, 60.5 million Americans will use them – nearly 20% of the US population.
Delivery: Last Mile costs a lot
- Consumers don’t just prefer faster shipping — they demand it. 18 percent of consumers said the maximum amount of time they were willing to wait was two days.
- Over 60% of clients want same-day delivery.
- 82% want to be able to buy online and pick up in-store.
- 45% of customers want to buy in-store and have goods delivered to their home or office.
- 88% of customers said they’d rather have packages shipped for free than as fast as possible.
- Amazon is building a delivery service of its own. In 2017, the company began running its Amazon Seller Flex in the US. The program has been operating in India for two years.
Mobile Commerce: PWA
- For many businesses there are more orders from mobile than from the desktop. No need to convince business decision makers of mobile anymore.
- Payments are still a pain in the neck. Google API Payment can be a promising approach.
- Google Mobile First Index – Google will create and rank its search listings based on the mobile version of content.
- PWA is the new Mobile Standard – The best features of Mobile Apps (UX) and Web (Distribution) combined: Offline readiness, Home Screen, No Marketplace Submission Needed, Linkable and Searchable, Re-engageable (Web-Push).
Must check: A beginner’s guide to PWA
AR > VR
- Apple announced the iPhone 8 and iPhone X which provide users with new augmented reality experiences.
- Apple is currently developing its ARKit, an open-source platform that allows developers to build AR products on iPhones and iPads.
Intelligence in eCommerce
- AI was the hottest topic on eCommerce Conferences this year.
- Pure-players are setting new standards for the customer journey by creating highly curated experiences through the use of AI.
- AI can be used to provide personalized websites, tailored product recommendations, more relevant product search results, as well as immediate and useful customer service.
- For many retailers, successfully leveraging AI will require partnering with third parties.
- The rise of AI-commerce startups.
Retail Apocalypse (for some industries)
- Retail Apocalypse started in the US. More than 6,400 stores are expected to close across the country this year.
- Department stores like Macy’s, Sears, and JCPenney, and retailers including BCBG, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Bebe have decided to close dozens of stores.
- Toys ‘R’ Us has filed for bankruptcy.
- More than half of all closures are due to bankruptcy.
- There is no doubt that eCommerce penetration, especially in certain categories like electronics, books, fashion, and office supplies, has impacted the number of stores. Experience Stores are successful: examples from Sonos, Bandier, Apple, Nordstrom and Sneakerboy.
- Mobile abandonment rates exceed 80% when customers are asked to input their credit card details.
- The payment request API by Google eliminates checkout forms. It allows merchants to request and accept any payment in a single API call.
- Bitcoin and Ethereum are here to stay.
- Attackers use machine learning to support their attacks, learning from defensive responses, seeking to disrupt detection models, and exploiting newly discovered vulnerabilities faster than defenders can patch them.
- Serverless apps will enable greater granularity – the apps are vulnerable to attacks exploiting privilege escalation and application dependencies.
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect on 25th May 2018 will force anyone who holds personal identifiable data to look closely at their security strategies.
- With GDPR looming and the number of data sources ever increasing, 2018 will be the year that retailers rethink their approaches to using data and step up their efforts to personalise the customer experience
- Microservices approach (Headless eCommerce) is getting more popular while the biggest eCommerce Players are showing case-studies of migration from monolithic platforms to microservices – eg. ASOS.
- New platforms gaining traction: Pimcore Commerce Framework, Spryker, Sylius
- Magento is more and more Enterprise Software (BI, Order Management).
- Shopify is aiming for bigger clients – Shopify Premium.
- Salesforce and SAP are developing their ecosystem and also growing.
Methodology of this report
- We collected Trends inside Divante
- We consulted Trends list with 12 eCommerce Consultants
- We sent a survey to eCommerce Managers and Consultants around the Globe. We sent the survey only to the real practitioners