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These are the 6 trends that will define online retail this year

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  • Speaking at Business Insider’s IGNITION Defining Retail event, Geoff Ramsey, co-founder and chief evangelist of eMarketer, said to look out for six major online shopping trends in 2020 — including the rise of mobile commerce, frictionless shopping, and decreased shipping times. 
  • “Mobile is by far the fastest-growing retail commerce channel,” he said. “Those phones are really active buying machines.”
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2020 is anticipated to be a transformative year for e-commerce. 

Speaking at Business Insider’s IGNITION: Defining Retail event on Tuesday, Geoff Ramsey, co-founder and chief evangelist of eMarketer, shared six key trends expected to define online shopping at the beginning of the new decade. Among his biggest hypotheses are the ongoing rise of mobile commerce, as well as the continued domination of Amazon. (Business Insider and eMarketer are both owned by the same company, Axel Springer.)

Here’s a closer look at what Ramsey said to look out for in the realm of online shopping this year:

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Major e-commerce growth

This year, e-commerce spend is expected to reach $666 billion and will account for $1 out of every $12 paid toward retail products, according to eMarketer forecasts. Examining by category, books, music, and video are anticipated to be the top-growing digital shopping segment, followed by computers and consumer electronics. 

The rise of mobile shopping

According to Ramsey, there are 167 million people in America who regularly purchase products using their mobile phones, comprising 84% of all e-commerce buyers.

“Mobile is by far the fastest-growing retail commerce channel,” he said, adding that mobile shopping reigned supreme during the 2019 holiday shopping, claiming 25.1% of sales, compared to 4.3% on desktop and 2.5% in brick-and-mortar stores. “Those phones are really active buying machines.”

Social commerce

Social’s share of referral traffic for e-commerce purchases is on the rise, and will continue to grow in the coming years. Meanwhile, direct purchasing from platforms like Facebook and Instagram is also growing — 20% of adults have made a purchase straight from social media. 

“Everybody’s talking about it, but are people really buying stuff on Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube? The answer is kind of, sort of,” Ramsey said.

The growth of frictionless commerce

Ramsey said to anticipate faster click-to-door delivery speeds, led by Amazon, which cut delivery times from 4.2 days to 2.5 days on average over the course of the past three years, compared to the rest of the industry, which has decreased from 7.8 days to 5.3 days. Other trends to look out for include the rise of cashier-less stores and buy-online-pick-up-in-store. 

“With the expansion of next-day Prime, and competition from Walmart and Target, expect this trend to continue of shrinking that time between when you click and get it at your doorstep,” he said.

Shifts in digital-advertising spending

Retailers are spending their digital-advertising money on three main areas: mobile, search, and Amazon. Ramsey said eMarketer anticipates that by the end of the year, retailers will spend 71% of their budgets on mobile advertising as the category continues to grow. Meanwhile, Amazon search continues to stake a claim of market share over Google.

“Visitors to Amazon are not already in a shopping mode — not just receptive to product massaging, but actively looking for it,” said Nicole Perrin, senior analyst at eMarketer.

Mobile proximity payments

Interest in using a mobile wallet is mixed, with about a third of Americans using digital payments. The biggest barrier is security concerns as a result of the slew of cybersecurity breaches among retailers. Still, programs like Apple Pay and Starbucks are dominating mobile payments, with more than 30 million and 25 million users respectively.

Watch IGNITION: Redefining Retail live here.

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