Ecommerce Statistics and Trends 2022: Purchasing During COVID, Fraud Increase, Green Commerce

The rapid growth of ecommerce is perhaps the only recent news that isn’t shocking. With the coronavirus pandemic keeping us indoors for most of last year, 60% of our interactions with companies are now online. In the first 10 days of November 2020 alone, US consumers spent $21.7 billion online – that’s a 21% increase year-over-year.

And, following a 25.7% increase in 2020, retail ecommerce sales worldwide will rise to $4.921 trillion in 2021. The number of global ecommerce users is also poised to grow 10% YoY to a whopping 2021 figure of 3.8billion.

But even without the effects of coronavirus, ecommerce was set to be on the rise in 2020. Internet sales have made up an increasing percentage of total retail sales year-on-year, growing from 7.3% to 19.2% in Great Britain alone from 2010-2019.

Between February and April 2020, internet sales skyrocketed from 19.0% of total sales to 30.2%, which should come as no surprise. But there’s a lot to learn about the digital-first world we’ve suddenly found ourselves in – and the more you know, the more you can make the most of this new retail climate.

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Impact of Coronavirus on Ecommerce

The pandemic is changing the way we socialize and travel. It’s expected to change the way we work. And it’s already changed the way we buy: 62% of US consumers shop online more now than before the pandemic, and one UK survey even found that 74% of respondents across all age groups now feel comfortable buying products online because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Key Finding:

Because of the pandemic, ecommerce sales have grown substantially in comparison to the rest of the retail industry – 36% of consumers shop online weekly since the outbreak of COVID-19, as opposed to 28% before. And, when we zero in on the holiday season specifically, that disparity’s even starker – according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 44% more consumers went online to shop for holiday goods than the year before.

However, ecommerce hasn’t been spared from the overall decline in retail sales in light of the pandemic. US ecommerce sales were expected to jump by 18% in 2020, but the same report predicted that total retail sales in the US would decline by 10.5%.

ecommerce sales during the coronavirus pandemic
Sources: Salesforce, Statista, Mastercard, Nike, eBay, Amazon, Benzinga, Walmart

Tim Clarke, Director of Sales and Marketing for SEO directory site SEOBlog, told us that the ecommerce businesses he works with have seen a definite increase in demand due to this year’s lockdowns:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely impacted a lot of businesses, but there’s no denying that its impact on ecommerce businesses is more on the good side than bad. Most of our ecommerce clients have experienced a significant increase in sales since the beginning of the year, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up anytime soon.

While the frenzy has simmered down over the past couple of months, we are still expecting a massive influx in sales as the holiday season draws near, based on the engagements we have been experiencing through social media channels and the trends in our ad campaigns.”

Action Item:

Prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in advance (we’ll be sharing some tips from small business owners later on). Increased demand could mean increased strain on delivery services – especially if there’s any winter weather on the way. Speak to your couriers in advance, and find out if they can collect on or around Black Friday/Cyber Monday. And for your own convenience, package as many products as you can in advance of the actual weekend!

What Products Have Been Doing Well Since COVID-19?

One unexpected industry that has seen a major shift to online purchasing in light of the pandemic is food and drink. Before COVID-19, just 9% of consumers shopped for groceries exclusively online. Now, 63% are buying more groceries online or by phone than before, and 86% are likely to continue to shop online or by phone when social distancing measures are removed. In the UK, average weekly internet sales for groceries more than doubled from pre-COVID levels.

During the pandemic, 60% of consumers have prioritized the purchase of essential items like groceries, while 3 in 10 consumers have also switched to brands that offer lower prices. But what non-essential retail items have still managed to fly off the shelves?

What Products Are Doing Well Since COVID

According to another report – this one from GFK – distributors have seen 11% more work-at-home goods fly off the shelves in 2020, compared to the year before, with small and medium-sized resellers snapping them up.

The report also sheds some light on the product increases since the pandemic. With 49% of people saying they’re actively seeking products and services that help them live more healthily, some of the biggest winners have been washing machines with steam (+46%), water filters (+23%), and air treatment devices (+14%).

In the WFH (work from home) subsector, a 15% annual growth in the sale of office and IT products was led mainly by monitors (+34%), headsets (+31%), and laptops (+31%).

And – with people having been compelled to stay at home throughout large swathes of the last year – the eat from home (EFH) corner of the market has experienced a similar boom.

Now, 69% of the world’s consumers state that they now cook for fun at home at least once a week – a 10% increase from the 2019 data. Driving this has been the purchasing of kitchen machines (+99%), food processors (+53%), and automatic coffee machines (+39%). Delicious!

Curbside Pickup Trends ‘Picking Up’ Momentum

Curbside pickup is one of the more welcome changes the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought on the world. Also known as ‘Buy Online Pick-up In Store’ (BOPIS), it’s been particularly great for ecommerce, allowing consumers to order online, then pick it up from the store – all while maintaining social distancing measures, and staying compliant with national stay-at-home orders.

While curbside pickup has been around for a while, logistical and shipping issues – not to mention the aforementioned pandemic – has seen it make a resurgence of late.

Curbside Pickups
Source: Adobe Holiday 2021 Shopping Forecast

How Much Money Is Really Spent Online?

Ecommerce sales grew by 14.9% in the US in 2019, and were on the rise at the start of 2020 as well – meaning ecommerce was bound to grow even without the influence of the virus.

Ecommerce Sales in 2019

Key Finding:

Global shoppers drove a 75% growth in digital commerce in Q2 2020 over Q2 2019, and even outperformed the holiday shopping season of 2019, which was considered one of the best sales seasons in recent years.

Pre and Post-COVID Forecasts for 2020

By now, we know that the pandemic has changed the way we shop, and caused a massive pivot to online retail. But what did the year look like before COVID-19 changed the picture? When asked in 2019, 46% of consumers in one PwC survey expected to spend more money over the following 12 months.

Then, Merkle predicted that in the last quarter of 2020, 79% of consumers would continue to spend more conservatively than they did before the pandemic. That said, ecommerce was still set to lead retail revenue: Online holiday sales were expected to reach $189 billion, which would mean a 33% increase year-on-year, while in-store sales were predicted to decline by as much as 6.6%.

holiday sales predictions by industry
Source: Forrester

What About Ecommerce After the Pandemic?

In a survey conducted by Salesforce, 61% of respondents say they expect to spend more time online after the pandemic than before it hit. Meanwhile, 60% say COVID-19 has changed their relationship with technology.

shopping plans post-pandemic
Source: Selligent

According to a survey of 2,200 US shoppers from October 2021, 48% said they’re spending more online since the start of the pandemic. But shoppers are also keen to return to physical stores – from January 2021, there’s been a 44% increase of in-person visits to retail stores, restaurants, and places of entertainment.

This is only set to increase – a PowerReviews survey of US consumers from June 2021, 70% responded “No” to the question, “Are you concerned about shopping in-store due to the COVID-19 pandemic?”. This figure is more than double in comparison to a similar survey conducted in September 2020.

Clicks Vs. Bricks Stats

A lot of this enthusiasm is due to combined online and in-store experiences such as curbside pickup and buy online, pick up in store – especially with younger generations. 63% of millenials and 59% of Gen Z shoppers said “Yes” when asked if “services such as BOPIS or Curbside Pickup make you more likely to visit a store?”. The majority of Gen X consumers (51%) also said “Yes”.

Demand for BIPOS _ Curbside Pickup

Increase of Ecommerce Fraud and Scams

Of course, with the increase of ecommerce fraud comes the enhanced risk of ecommerce fraudsters – something the data attests to.

Sources: Payments Dive, Report Linker

Among the major drivers of this uptick in online scamming are chargeback fraud (also known as ‘friendly fraud’), identity theft, and ‘silent’ fraud. ‘Pharming’ – a type of cyberattack which attempts to redirect a website’s traffic to a fake site by uploading malicious code to a device – is also prominent, as are account takeovers.

Ecommerce Fraud Types

Of the world’s ecommerce fraud markets, China’s is the most burgeoning. While this doesn’t come as too much of a surprise – at $672 billion per year, the country’s ecommerce market is the globe’s largest – the figures are certainly still alarming. China is expected to account for more than 40% of the world’s ecommerce fraud losses by 2025, at a total surpassing $12 billion.

It’s fair to say, then, that fraud is everywhere. But which industries are hardest hit – and which devices are thieves most likely to use to commit fraud?

Fraud_ Hardest Hit Industries and Device Types
Source: Sift Trust and Safety Index

Which Countries Have the Largest Ecommerce Markets?

A whopping 96% of Americans have made at least one online purchase in their life, and 80% have done so in the last month. But the US actually comes second on the list of the world’s largest ecommerce markets:

the 10 largest ecommerce markets in the world
Source: Business.com

Ecommerce clearly integrates foreign economies, too: 57% of online shoppers have made a purchase from an overseas retailer. Let’s see that figure broken down by region:

regional shoppers who purchase from overseas
Source: Nielsen
Key Finding:

The borderless nature of ecommerce works well in today’s globalized world. The two top markets – China and the US – have large numbers of cross-border online shoppers: 149.42 million and 82.72 million, respectively.

Ecommerce Payment Methods

For ecommerce stores selling both locally and internationally, being able to accommodate different payment methods should be a top priority. Digital wallets, credit cards, and debit cards are the top three ecommerce payment methods worldwide.

Let’s break that figure down by country:

top payment methods as percent of total transactions
Source: Statista

The Rise of Digital Wallets

Digital wallets (also known as mobile payments or e-Wallets), like PayPal and Apple Pay, are on the rise as a preferred payment method – particularly in the APAC region. This is due in large part to the popularity of digital wallets in China: 81.1% of smartphone users in China use them, compared to 29% in the US and just 19.1% in the UK.

Given that China is currently the largest ecommerce market in the world, it’s no surprise that its two biggest mobile payment players – Alipay and WeChat – both recorded over 1.1 billion active users in Q3 2019. For context, that’s almost the entire population of China, which was recorded at 1.4 billion people in 2019!

But digital wallets are on the rise in the West, too. Mobile payment usage jumped by 77% in North America and 123% in Europe between 2015 and 2018.

Action Item:

Know which payment gateways your ecommerce website can accept, and know which gateways your customers prefer. The best ecommerce website builders offer integrations with all of the major payment gateways, and customers in the US will be looking for top platforms like PayPal, Stripe, and Apple Pay.

Cart Abandonment Rates

Knowing how site visitors prefer to pay is only important if you have paying customers in the first place – which brings us to the issue of shopping cart abandonment. Abandoned carts happen when a customer adds an item to their cart, but then leaves the website without completing the purchase. Over three quarters of shoppers will do this – check out the global cart abandonment rates by country for 2019:

cart abandonment statistics
Source: Barilliance, Baymard Institute
Action Item:

Avoid blindsiding customers with unexpected costs during the checkout process. While sellers often can’t afford to waive shipping fees or other additional costs, what you can do is allow customers to calculate the total cost of their orders at the beginning of the checkout process. This way, there are no hidden surprises later.

Desktop vs Mobile Shopping

Mobile Vs. Desktop 2022

In a 2018 study based on 900 billion web visits, 58% came from mobile devices, while 42% came from desktops. And when asked how often they bought products using various shopping channels, respondents in 2019 chose mobile devices 30% of the time, and PCs 28% of the time.

In Q1 2020, mobile ecommerce traffic grew by 25% across all industries, with mobile phones representing 56% of total order share and 71% of total traffic.

That said, mobile doesn’t come out on top in every ecommerce metric.

And when it comes to global market share, mobile and desktop devices are nearly tied at 48.62% and 48.88%, respectively.

Key Finding:

Mobile shopping has been on the rise for a while. However, even though more than half of all time spent on retail websites takes place on a mobile device, sales made on desktops are still worth more money on average. Customers also order more products on desktop than on mobile, with item counts per order 24% higher on desktop devices.

So, Why Is Mobile Ecommerce Important?

Desktop devices lead in sales, but mobile devices lead in traffic – Google even added a site’s mobile-friendliness to its search criteria in 2018, reflecting the big turn towards mobile browsing that we’ve already seen. And this popularity means that mobile browsing is starting and ending more consumer journeys than ever before.

Shopping is an increasingly omnichannel experience – the frequency of multi-device customer journeys is estimated to be between 41% and 65% of all purchases made online. Even the best free ecommerce website builders allow you to design mobile-friendly ecommerce websites.

Mobile Ecommerce During COVID-19

45% of consumers say they’re using their mobile phone more as a shopping channel since the pandemic began in March.

In its May 2020 analysis of ecommerce data from 60 countries, PPRO found that Sweden leads the pack, with 60% of its ecommerce shopping being conducted on a mobile device. China follows close behind with 59%, while the UK and US conduct 55% and 39% of ecommerce shopping from mobile devices, respectively.

Mobile Ecommerce in the Holiday Season

According to a Channable report, mobile shopping made up almost four in ten (39%) sales between November 1st and December 31st in 2020, which – compared to 2019 data – represented a 15% sales conversion rate increase.

Mobile Ecommerce in the Future

Pre-pandemic estimates predicted that mobile purchases would be worth $3.56 trillion by 2021, making up 72.9% of total global ecommerce spend. What’s more, consumers are expected to use their smartphones to spend over $86 billion online this holiday season alone – a year on year increase of a whopping 16.6%.

Mobile Commerce Still Used More to Browse Than to Buy

One recent Kibo Commerce report suggested that, vis a vis desktop, mobile shopping had a higher session rate – meaning more consumers were using their smartphones to browse products and deals.

However, Kibo’s data also showed that mobile sessions resulted not only in a higher cart abandonment rate – that is, people dropping out before completing the purchase – but lower conversion rate and order value, too. So, while smartphones are still set to be key players in the ecommerce world of the future, desktop-based customers remain more lucrative for now.

The Impact of New Technology on Ecommerce

Like mobile browsing, new technology trends – such as personalization and localization, voice shopping, and chatbots – are also having a big impact on the customer experience.

By “customer experience,” we mean all of the interactions between a business and a customer that shape their relationship. This involves everything from web design to shipping, and it’s an important thing to invest in – 64% of customers say it’s actually a more important factor than price.

Personalization and Localization

In ecommerce, personalization means delivering more personal experiences to customers by tailoring their recommendations and offers based on factors like their browsing behavior, purchase history, and geolocation.

Localization means tailoring a website to a customer’s IP address, so that it reflects the customer’s native buying experience in terms of language and context. If you sell internationally, this is an important way to compete with local sellers in overseas markets.

fast facts about personalization and localization
Sources: Econsultancy, Salesforce, Segment, Business 2 Community, CSA Research, Bridgeline

Voice Assistants

Voice control devices, such as smart home speakers, are increasing in popularity all over the world. There are expected to be 8 billion voice assistants in use by 2023, which would be up from 2.5 billion at the end of 2018. A report by OC&C Strategy Consultants even predicts that voice shopping spending will grow to over $40 billion in 2022 alone.

Why is this such a big deal for ecommerce? Because according to a 2019 report from Microsoft, 40% of consumers surveyed in the US, UK, Canada, India, and Australia had used voice technology to make online purchases – that’s a major share of the market!

In fact, one in five smart speaker owners use voice commerce. And COVID-19 could easily accelerate the growth of voice tech: 52% of voice assistant users say they use the technology “several times a day or nearly every day,” up from 46% before the pandemic.

Key Finding:

Voice assistants are an up-and-coming giant in the ecommerce industry – so it’s important for merchants to be prepared. When Adobe surveyed 400 business decision makers in 2018, 91% said they were already making significant investments in voice technology. But it’s important to plan for new challenges as well: Because voice technology devices are still so new, they’re more susceptible to security vulnerabilities and fraud.

Chatbots

Chatbots are a favorite feature among Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000), who choose live chat as their preferred way to contact brands. Millennials have a spending power of $10 trillion over their lifetimes as consumers, and together with the younger Gen Zs, they make the most purchases online of any age group – so chatbots are an important tech trend to keep on your radar.

It’s clear that Millennials like chatbots – but how does everyone else feel about them?

fast facts about chatbots
Sources: Relay, Drift.com, G2, Facebook, Chatbots Magazine

Interested in the opportunities chatbots present? For an in-depth dive into the latest conversational commerce statistics and trends – including voice search, live chat, and artificial intelligence (AI) bots – check out our guide.

Key Finding:

We’ve seen how chatbots can be convenient for customers. But they can be beneficial for merchants, too: Chatbots could save companies up to 30% in customer service spending, and companies in banking and healthcare alone are expected to save $8 billion by 2022 by using chatbots.

Multichannel Marketing and Social Media

Multichannel, or omnichannel, marketing means using a sales approach that integrates the customer experience across various channels, including text messages, social media platforms, and emails.

fast facts on multichannel marketing and social media
Source: Omnisend

Today, the average number of social media accounts per person is 8.6 (a figure that’s grown 79.16% from 2014 to 2020), and US households each own an average of 11 connected devices – meaning it’s important to reach customers across as many of those accounts and devices as you can.

how to use the top marketing channels

55% of online shoppers made a purchase through a social media channel in 2018, and in 2019, 87% of online shoppers believed that social media helped them make a purchase decision. Instagram alone attracts 70% of consumers looking for product discovery, while 77% of Pinterest users have discovered a new brand or product on the platform.

Customers can also purchase products directly through social media pages, which 30% of consumers say they would do. Some merchants are well aware of this trend: One in four business owners are already selling through Facebook.

And hey – remember when we talked about China as a massive ecommerce market? Social media purchases are already the standard there, with 55% of users buying goods or services directly on a social app.

Action Item:

92% of consumers are more likely to trust non-paid recommendations than any other type of advertising, which is why social media plays such a big role in customers’ buying decisions. But there are also other kinds of social proof that you can use to your advantage, including customer reviews91% of customers from the ages of 18 to 34 trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations.

Daniel Foley, director of his own London-based SEO consultancy, told us just how beneficial online reviews will be for ecommerce sales this holiday season:

daniel foley headshot“Cyber Monday will see a lot of people hovering over the purchase button before deciding on final clicks. Providing ready-to-read reviews on your purchase pages can be a great way to make new customers who haven’t used you so far take that final step to completing the purchase.

This can be especially useful for companies who aren’t well known and who are competing with big brand names. Many people have had experiences with online companies selling items that aren’t quite what they promised, so making this feedback instantly available can help reassure that they will get what they are ordering.”

Social Commerce On the Up

A recent Kantar-Catalyst report attempted to unearth some of the trends around how people are using social media, and the impact of this on social commerce.

The report found that:

Social Commerce Statistics

Here’s how online consumers responded to social commerce use: over a third (35%) stated that they are ‘very likely’ to use social commerce to make a purchase, with another 26% ‘somewhat likely’, totalling 61% in favor of it.

Social Commerce Purchase Likelihood

Green Ecommerce Trends

Did You Know?

Consumers are becoming increasingly eco-friendly with 51% stating that when considering a purchase, they factor in whether the product was produced with a traceable and transparent origin.

Okay, so ecommerce may have less of an impact on the environment than in-store shopping – one report puts offline shopping as accounting for between 1.5 and 2.9 times more greenhouse gas emissions than its online counterpart. But, while this makes sense – people don’t have to jump in their cars to get to the mall, for example – ecommerce is still responsible for its fair share of the world’s carbon footprint.

After all, more than two billion tons of waste ends up in landfills every year. How much of that is unflattened Amazon Prime-branded cardboard? Bubble wrap? Styrofoam peanuts?

But wait, you say – isn’t all that stuff recyclable?

Well, yep – but the statistics suggest that, while the general trend is toward sustainability, generational attitudes are going in the opposite direction. Gen Z, for example, are three times as likely as boomers to say recycling ‘takes too much effort’. This suggestion is no doubt strongly linked to the fact that a quarter (25%) of consumers aren’t sure which products are recyclable or not, with 15% not even sure to correctly sort through the material.

So what are the latest green ecommerce trends, and how should the data inform your approach heading into 2021?

One recent GWI report (January 2021) unearthed several key insights about what internet users in the US and UK want brands to do to address environmental issues going forward:

Why Consumers Want Sustainable Ecommerce

There’s a lot to unpack here – so let’s break this data down into two of its most dominant themes.

Recyclable Packaging a Must

With the lion’s share of consumers now expecting brands to provide recycled (or at least less) packaging, this is one piece of evidence company’s need to start taking notice of.

Studies have estimated that around 19% of all plastic material ends up in unmanaged dumps, with just 16% of all plastic waste reprocessed or recycled. Most of the world’s plastic waste actually winds up being incinerated (25%) or in landfills.

These damning statistics haven’t passed consumers by, and people want action. With 70% of customers in the US and UK believing corporations should be doing more to address environmental issues, implementing a sustainable packaging strategy is an ideal place to start.

But the statistics also indicate that recyclable packaging alone may not be enough – it needs to be transparently recyclable, too. After all, one in four people struggle to tell if a product is recyclable, with many unable to parse the materials into processable piles. If ecommerce businesses not only make their packaging recyclable, but provide instructions on how to recycle it, they’ll be tapping into a wide market of sustainably-minded (but hapless when it comes to recycling) consumers.

Green Trend 1_ Recycable Packaging A Must

Ease and Affordability Driving Green Ecommerce Success

Other recent GWI data looked into the barriers that internet users in the US and UK feel they’re facing when it comes to purchasing eco-friendly products. According to the data:

Green Trend 2_ Ease _ Affordability

With six in ten consumers avoiding eco-friendly products because of their higher cost, there’s a clear gap in the market for a green ecommerce business able to offer sustainable, environmentally friendly products for less.

The fact that almost one in four (24%) consumers are dissuaded from eco-friendly products because of how difficult they are to find will also be of alarm to brands. Is it more marketing needed? More brand exposure and awareness? A greater retailer willingness to stock expensive eco-friendly products… or a combination of all three?

Whichever it is, one thing is clear. The eco-friendly ecommerce product that bests manages to negotiate the tricky balancing act of affordability, visibility, and transparency – that is, clearly communicating to the consumer what eco-friendless is, and why they should care – will be very successful.

Did You Know?

The consumer market for sustainable products is set to be worth a blockbusting $140.5 billion by 2023.

What Environmental Concerns Have Consumers Worried In 2021?

Looking at what consumers across seven countries were worried about in 2021, one GWI report found that:

Consumer Environmental Concerns

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Statistics

It’s time to talk about the biggest retail weekend of the year.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are in the spotlight as we wonder how the coronavirus pandemic will impact purchases. But it’s possible that some trends from years past may still check out…

While the UK has yet to match the US in online sales, both markets have shown a steady increase year-on-year.

This year, more than three-quarters of US consumers say that crowded malls would deter them from shopping in person, and 41% hope to rely on online shopping instead. The UK just about matches Americans on this view, with 71% of Brits reluctant to shop in-store this holiday season.

In-store Comfort Level

Black Friday in the US

While we’re used to thinking of Black Friday as a day full of doorbuster in-person sales, it’s actually been trending towards ecommerce in recent years. In-store Black Friday attendance fell by 4% from 2016 to 2017, and fell a further 9% from 2017 to 2018.

But that doesn’t mean the sheer, unadulterated amount of spending Black Friday generates has been going down. Actually, it’s the opposite! In 2020, Black Friday hit a new high, setting an all-time record of $9 billion, increasing by 21.6% from the year before.

black friday statistics usa
Sources: National Retail Federation, The Washington Post

Black Friday has always been a crucial contributor to overall holiday spending – which, this year, is poised to be bigger and more bombastic than ever.

With US consumer demand for ecommerce growing, research from Adobe expects holiday spending online to hit $207 billion, surpassing all previous years. Globally, that figure will balloon 11% year on year to hit $910 billion – nearly a trillion dollar’s worth of spending!

Did You Know?

US consumers will spend, on average, 12 hours shopping online this festive season. Talk about a day’s work!

One survey conducted by the National Retail Foundation found that in 2020, US consumers planned to spend about the same amount on holiday gifts as they did in 2019. The same survey found that 53% of shoppers planned to spend more on non-gift holiday items (such as decorations) in 2020 because they wouldn’t be travelling for the holidays.

Did You Know?

According to Adobe, this year Americans will spend a total of 414,000 years (which equates to an incredible 3.6 billion hours) shopping online in November and December.

Black Friday in the UK

In 2019, 42% of adults in the UK planned to take part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In 2020, that figure dropped to 39%. However, Brits were still expected to spend an estimated £6 billion over both holidays in 2020, and those who did plan to take part were expected to spend 18% more on average than in 2019.

Black Friday Preferred Purchasing Channels

Inventory Issues Set to Play Their Part in Black Friday 2021

It’s not just our health (and patience) that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on – it’s our stuff, too.

The ongoing effects of the spread of coronavirus – along with the nationwide stay-at-home orders it’s caused in the US and UK – have led to serious logistical and supply chain issues. Put simply, suppliers haven’t been able to get their hands on much stock!

‘Out of stock’ messages in January 2021 are up 172% when compared to pre-pandemic levels (January 2020), and a whopping 360% versus January 2019.

These widespread stock shortages are set to continue throughout the 2021 holiday season, with apparel the category suffering most. Other items suffering with an inventory problem include sporting goods, electronics, and products for babies and toddlers.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: What Should I Do Differently This Year?

Action Item: Don’t Forget About Small Business Saturday

We know Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the heavy-hitters, but it’s safe to say that Small Business Saturday will also be taking place online this year. If you’re a local business, start thinking about how to get your community excited about your services. It won’t be a waste of effort – American shoppers spent an estimated $19.6 billion at independent retailers and restaurants in 2019.

We had to do a lot of adapting in 2020 – and making a few mindful adjustments to your ecommerce strategy could pay dividends. For inspiration, we asked a few ecommerce merchants what their plans were going into Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Use More Discount Codes

michael anderson headshotSeller Secret: GeoJango

Michael Anderson, of the custom mapmaking company GeoJango, told us how discount codes elevated his Black Friday strategy.

“Our most successful tactic last Black Friday/Cyber Monday was to run discount code sales throughout the weekend, and to promote them through live chat on our website.

Basically, we had one discount code for Black Friday, one for Small Business Saturday, and one for Cyber Monday. The fact that we used different discount codes for each specific event helped to create a sense of urgency among our users, and we saw our ecommerce conversion rate skyrocket.”

Discount codes are a surefire way to boost sales any year, but especially in 2020. Calloway Cook, owner of the herbal-extract supplement company Illuminate Labs, told us he’s used discounts to adapt to a downturn in sales due to COVID:

“Let’s face it – most consumers are struggling financially at the moment. If you’re a high-end brand, it’s going to be tough to generate as many sales as you did last year.

We started offering an 80% discount on first-time subscription orders in a banner on our website, and saw a surge in recurrent revenue. This has been really crucial in helping us ride out the economic storm of 2020. We’d recommend any retailer selling at a high price point to try out this strategy if you have the profit margins to support it.”

Drive Engagement

There are tons of small ways to drum up anticipation before and even during your Black Friday sales. Samiksha Desai of Yummy Tummy Recipes said using a countdown clock on her client’s landing page increased conversions by 11%, while Karl Robinson of Logicata looks to the future to grab his customers’ attention:

“While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all about discounts, offering a future discount through your purchase can really entice customers. For instance, a deal where you buy today, and receive a future voucher for 10% off on your next purchase, can really grab attention and allow people to continue the savings past one specific point. Plus, you could also be growing and strengthening your customer loyalty.”

ben bailey headshotSeller Secret: Ventured

Ben Bailey, of ecommerce strategy site Ventured, has learned that when it comes to customer engagement, simplicity is key:

“For us, one site-wide discount worked better than multiple discounts. Make things easy for your customers – buying from you shouldn’t require a calculator.”

That said, Bailey also encourages a concrete approach to email marketing:

“Email is king. Utilize your email list – readers are warmed up to you already, and have opted in. The holidays are the best time to blast your list, and don’t be afraid to email every day, or sometimes twice a day during the big sales. Last year, we did over 100k in sales from Friday – Monday. 40% of that came from email alone.”

Prepare Your Website

Even in today’s world, 46% of American small businesses still don’t have their own website – so if you’re reading this, you’re already on the right track. If you’re still preparing your website, you can find out how to build an online store and explore the best small business website builders.

But some Cyber Monday veterans can offer a few tips to handle the influx of website visitors you’ll likely get this holiday season.

Seller Secret: Infinity Dish

laura fuentes headshotLaura Fuentes of TV and internet company Infinity Dish says website speed can make or break your Cyber Monday sales.

“It’s best to make sure in advance that your site can handle the amount of traffic that will be pouring in on Cyber Monday. Shoppers can get really frustrated by slowed screens and glitches.

Unless a shopper is really intent on purchasing a specific product from your business, they will move on as soon as a glitch happens and look for similar deals with your competitors.”

If you need to revamp your website for the holiday season, you’re in luck: plenty of top website builders are offering deals and promo codes this Black Friday, so be sure to make the most of them.

We have also explored the best tips for more sales in our Black Friday & Cyber Monday Ecommerce Guide.

Ecommerce Statistics 2021: Summary

Ecommerce sales were undoubtedly on the rise before coronavirus caused them to skyrocket, but now the future is decidedly digital.

There’s no telling for sure what we can expect after the coronavirus pandemic, but ecommerce statistics from both before and during the COVID-19 outbreak suggest that online shopping is where our attention should be as we try to look ahead.

About Rob Binns

Rob Binns

I’m Website Builder Expert’s Content Manager, which means I cast my eye over everything that goes up onto the site, as well as penning my own posts, too. I built my first website in 2016 with Wix, in a last-ditch attempt to get a friend’s ailing rock band some gigs. Since then, I’ve experimented with Squarespace, GoDaddy, and Shopify, and dabbled in hosting and email marketing tools, too – with far greater levels of success! I trust you’ll find the wide range of articles on our site helpful, and please don’t hesitate to shoot me a message with anything else you’d like to see on Website Builder Expert.

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