Top eCommerce Trends for 2024: Where Online Shopping Industry Stands
eCommerce has always been a rapidly growing industry, but the past few years have changed the eCommerce landscape forever.
Ever since its early days, eCommerce has always been among the fastest-growing industries. And since 2019, eCommerce has gone through its biggest transformation yet, but it’s far from being over. Here is what has happened in the world of eCommerce over the past couple of years and where it’s expected to go in 2024.
The post-pandemic state of eCommerce
While we are not yet at a point where the world can be declared post-pandemic, and the effects of COVID-19 are still noticeable, the eCommerce industry has changed dramatically over the last two years. These are the most notable trends in the eCommerce industry in the post-COVID era.
eCommerce growth statistics show an inevitable slowdown
After eCommerce sales skyrocketed in 2019-2021, the slowed-down growth was to be expected by 2024. Compared to 2021, when the eCommerce sales increased by 17.0%, 2024, with its 8.95% growth rate may not have looked as impressive. However, the slower growth can be explained by several factors, from the return of buyers to in-store shopping to the issues with the supply chain, which limited the sales possibilities for many eCommerce businesses.
Online window shopping is an emerging trend
Since the beginning of the pandemic, eCommerce has witnessed the emergence of a new trend: online window shopping. In order words, potential buyers are increasingly often filling their shopping carts and then abandoning them before checking out.
This definitely started out as a pandemic trend, when the inability of the buyers to visit physical stores, paired with them being stuck at home during lockdown, forced them to look for substitutions to their usual shopping habits. At the beginning of the pandemic, eCommerce statistics indicated that up to 94.4% of shopping carts were abandoned. On average, up to 70% of carts are abandoned across all eCommerce markets with the highest abandonment rate belonging to mCommerce, where 85.65% of users fill their shopping carts and never return to them. This amounts to $18 billion in lost revenue every year.
The possible solutions for this problem are redesigning your shopping cart, adding clear calls to action, and offering guest checkout. This alone can increase your conversion rate by 45%.
Buyers won’t tolerate COVID-related service disruptions
The eCommerce industry has faced many challenges since March 2020, including product shortages and shipping delays. However, for a majority of buyers, all that matters is the last-mile point of service. A buyer still expects to get the necessary product at an adequate price and within a reasonable time frame. e-Commerce statistics demonstrate that only 1 in 5 US consumers is willing to forgive service providers for delays and other inconsistencies, but there are exceptions to this trend — brand loyalty makes the buyers more lenient even in the case of order complications.
Customers are more conscious of their brand support
The post-pandemic eCommerce landscape has seen a shift in customer loyalty and priorities. When a customer finds a brand that matches their expectations and ethics, they are highly likely to stick around with it even through shipping delays and product stockouts.
Moreover, customers are now less likely to randomly choose a brand to support. For example, for 47% of the buyers, it’s important for an eCommerce store to have a local presence, while 78% of the buyers have admitted to shopping more with nearby establishments to support the local economy. And price is a less significant factor in the selection process for many buyers, as 7 in 10 buyers would rather support a local business even if it means paying more.
The increase in out-of-home activities
Compared to the past few years, last year saw the return of consumers to out-of-home activities. By October, around 50% of US consumers were starting to leave the house more — not just for shopping, but also for working from the office, enjoying social events, and eating out indoors. There has been a 44% increase in these activities starting from January.
The out-of-home return rate depends on several factors, including generation, with baby boomers being 14% more likely to leave home than Gen Z, and high-income households staying at home more than low and middle-income families.
Products with the most rapid growth in sales
Over the course of the pandemic, different products have gone through waves of popularity. However, some products have enjoyed a steady demand and have performed well in sales throughout these few years. According to an eCommerce industry analysis, most of the highest selling products can be categorized into three groups:
- Healthy living: air purifiers, water filters, steam washing machines;
- Working from home: laptops, monitors, headphones;
- Cooking: kitchen appliances, food processors, coffee machines.
After the astronomic growth of 2019-2021, eCommerce is now adjusting to the new reality. With customer priorities shifting and them being more conscious of their brand loyalty, eCommerce businesses need to strengthen their positions in the market, as consumers will be quick to move on to the competitors if they are not satisfied with the service they are getting.
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Top eCommerce trends in 2024 to watch out for
As one of the most rapidly growing industries, eCommerce regularly undergoes minor and major transformations, and the 2023/2024 season is no exception. There are several notable trends that give a pretty good idea of where the industry is at right now and where it’s going, and here are some of them.
The supply chain crisis threatens the whole retail industry
In 2020, shipping delays and product stockouts affected not just the world of eCommerce, but also the retail industry as a whole. This was a particularly big problem during the 2020 holiday season, when millions of buyers received their orders weeks after the winter holidays, which led to a massive string of returns of gifts that were no longer needed. And that is never good news for a small or medium eCommerce business.
Things have only gotten more serious since then. Since 2021, eCommerce companies have experienced a shortage of not only the products they are selling, but also the packaging materials and replacement parts for the warehouse equipment.
There are several reasons for the current supply chain crisis, from the shipping container shortages and an over 500% increase in shipping costs from China to the container congestion in major ports. What matters the most is the ability of eCommerce businesses to quickly adapt to new conditions. Among other things, eCommerce companies should consider diversifying their supplier base to avoid further complications and using tech solutions to make data-driven decisions. For example, data analytics tools can help you predict customer demand, thus helping you understand which products to stock on.
Omnichannel eCommerce is on the rise
The omnichannel retail strategy — the practice of creating a seamless shopping experience for the buyer across all available channels, including eCommerce and brick & mortar stores — is not exactly a new trend. But since 2020, it has shown significant growth. With omnichannel campaigns delivering a 287% purchase rate, omnichannel marketing efforts are definitely paying off.
According to eCommerce statistics from Think With Google, while the number of people shopping online has increased significantly over the past two years, 66% of buyers still plan to shop in-store. Moreover, a buyer 15 years ago typically went through two touch-points to buy a product, while a modern buyer goes through six on average. It means that your campaigns cannot be one-sided and need to involve different kinds of media, from social media and email marketing to handing out flyers.
Social commerce continues to evolve
For years, eCommerce businesses have been active on social media. However, companies mostly used social media websites to allow more potential customers to discover their products, not to sell to them directly. And those efforts were not fruitless, as 70% of buyers are now taking to Instagram to plan their next purchase.
Of course, Instagram is not the only platform to host your social commerce campaigns. Facebook and Pinterest have already rolled out shopping functionality, and YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter are testing different versions of “shop now” buttons.
Top 10 in-demand eCommerce categories
If you are only starting an eCommerce business or want to make your existing one stronger with the addition of new categories, looking at the most popular categories can be helpful in a number of ways. These are the 10 eCommerce categories in the US that performed the best last year.
- Computer and consumer electronics.
- Apparel and accessories.
- Furniture and home furnishings.
- Health, personal care, and beauty.
- Toys and hobbies.
- Auto and parts.
- Books, music, and video.
- Food and beverage.
- Office equipment and supplies.
The growth of eCommerce platforms
With up to 24 million online stores in the US alone, it’s safe to assume that eCommerce business owners are taking different paths when developing their digital storefront. Some choose proprietary eCommerce website development, while others prefer to hire developers to adapt one of the existing eCommerce platforms to their needs. If you’re considering the latter option, here are the leading eCommerce platforms by market share.
- WooCommerce + WooThemes — 39.62%
- SquareSpace — 19.21%
- Shopify — 13.58%
- WixStores — 4.59%
- Amazon — 3.91%
- MonsterCommerce — 2.28%
- Weebly eCommerce — 1.63%
- Magento — 1.53%
- PrestaShop — 1.28%
- BigCommerce — 0.70%
The evolution of the eCommerce market creates a stark contrast (in both longevity and revenue) between businesses that adapt quickly and businesses that don’t. A successful eCommerce business in 2024 must diversify their supply chain and engage their customers across multiple marketing channels (including social media). New businesses should be mindful of competition in their niche and choose their eCommerce platform based on its flexibility and long-term ability to scale.
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The global state of eCommerce & the biggest players
Even if the focus of your eCommerce business is North America, it’s always a good idea to know what is going on globally in this ever-changing industry. eCommerce is rapidly developing around the world, and this is where things stand at the moment.
Marketplaces dominate the industry
The presence of marketplaces on the international eCommerce market is strong and it’s only getting stronger every year. In 2023, 66% of all online shoppers around the world would start their search on one of the popular marketplaces. There are now marketplaces in every part of the world, and a few standout companies that operate globally. Above you’ll find the top 10 marketplaces of 2023 by monthly visits.
13% of the global eCommerce market belongs to Amazon
Amazon is one of the top players on the international eCommerce scene, and the past few years have only strengthened its positions. It currently has a 13% market share globally, and in the US, Amazon’s presence is even more powerful, with 37.8% of the national eCommerce activity happening on this platform.
Asian marketplaces are on the rise
Although Amazon remains a force to be reckoned with, especially in the Western part of the world, there are areas on the global map where Amazon isn’t even close to the top of the list. In Asia and many European countries, those positions are firmly occupied by Asian marketplaces and Alibaba in particular.
Alibaba is especially big in Eastern Europe with a 2.9% market share in the previous year. And during Singles Day, the biggest shopping event in Asia, Alibaba and JD.com together racked up $139 billion in sales.
Asia leads in sales growth
Since early 2020, eCommerce sales have grown everywhere on the planet, but some regions displayed an even more impressive increase. Namely, China became the undisputed leader of eCommerce sales in the 2020s, having reached almost 3,3 times more in sales than its closest competitor, the United States. eCommerce business trends also reveal that Japan, South Korea, and India are three other Asian countries out of the top 10 international markets in eCommerce sales.
Localization matters to foreign buyers
The nature of eCommerce helps break down the barriers for international buyers, but it’s only possible when the service is available in the buyer’s native language. According to a survey, 1 in 5 buyers considers the lack of localization to be a big barrier that could stop them from making a purchase.
Moreover, as buyers are relying on product reviews in their decision-making process, they are also determined to find reviews in their own language. 66% of international buyers will use an automatic translation option if it’s available, but machine translation can often lead to misunderstanding. So if you plan to venture into the international market, consider using professional localization services.
eCommerce is booming not just in the US, but also globally. And while there are some big names on the international market already, with a strong strategy and an approach tailored to the specific needs of the audience, there can be room for new players.
Mobile shopping trends to include in your eCommerce strategy
With almost 6.5 billion smartphone users in the world in 2023 and the smartphone penetration rate ranging from 45% to 95% in different parts of the planet, the mCommerce market looks very promising. Here are the key mCommerce trends right now.
The current state of mCommerce
One of the most noticeable eCommerce industry trends is that mCommerce sales continue growing steadily year after year. Sales in the mobile eCommerce market have been increasing rapidly for the past five years, so the growth isn’t associated as much with the pandemic as with the record-high smartphone penetration rate around the world. In 2023, mCommerce sales globally amounted to $2.169 trillion, and that’s a 45.2% increase compared to 2018, when mCommerce generated $982 billion in sales.
How many people shop from their smartphones?
By an estimate, there are 2 billion people in the world who have made at least one purchase online. And mobile sales are not that far behind, with 3 out of 4 eCommerce users globally shopping from their smartphones. Moreover, many mobile buyers use an omnichannel shopping tactic, where they browse an eCommerce website from their desktop computer and eventually make the purchase on a mobile device — 58% of all multi-device purchases are closed on mobile.
Mobile shopping continues its expansion
In 2020, mobile shopping, or mCommerce, was responsible for 5.5% of total retail sales in the United States. In 2021, it increased to 5.9%. It is estimated that by 2025, 10.4% of all retail sales in the US will be done on mobile devices. A thorough eCommerce market analysis demonstrates that with the continued spread of new mCommerce technologies, such as AR and 5G, as well as the popularity of quick payment methods, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, mCommerce is going to become even more powerful in the coming years.
China is the biggest mCommerce market
We’ve already talked about the strong positions of eCommerce in the Asian market. Unsurprisingly, Asia in general and China in particular are also leading in the mCommerce segment. 3 out of 5 mCommerce markets in the world are in Asia. China is leading the pack with $750 billion in mCommerce sales, Japan is fourth with $34.5 billion, and South Korea takes the fifth spot with a $28.8 billion mCommerce market.
Asia is also in the lead when it comes to the percentage of mobile transactions. With 79.1% of transactions happening on mobile in Indonesia, 74.2% in Thailand, and 69.6% in the Philippines, Asia emerges as the most up-and-coming mCommerce market globally.
Mobile banking grows steadily
The expansion of the mobile sales channel is impossible without the change in the banking habits of the world’s population. Specifically, with more than 1 billion smartphone users around the globe, mobile banking is now one of the fastest-growing mCommerce-related technologies. For some, mobile banking simply means access to quick transactions and better banking account control. For others, especially in Asia and Africa, mobile banking acts as the only form of financial inclusion when there are no other options.
The mCommerce market is developing at the same rate as traditional eCommerce, or even faster in certain parts of the world. The number of smartphone owners and mCommerce users increases every year, and many consumers now start and end their buying journey on their phones. Still, succeeding in the competitive mobile eCommerce world is virtually impossible without the use of cutting-edge technologies and catering to the specific needs of the growing mCommerce audience.
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B2B eCommerce trends
The times when B2B deals were made strictly in person or over the phone are gone. One of the most important eCommerce trends is that modern B2B companies have successfully expanded their presence to the online realm. Here are the most important trends to keep an eye on in the world of B2B eCommerce.
B2B marketplaces improve their positions
B2B companies are no longer exclusively selling their products and services through their own websites. B2B marketplaces have grown significantly over the past few years. This trend is developing in the same vein as traditional eCommerce marketplaces, as more and more B2B providers and customers are discovering the benefits of marketplaces.
Last year, it was reported that 26% of B2B customers make between 50% and 74% of their purchases online, and 9% of customers make over 75% of their total B2B purchases from marketplaces.
B2B companies face technological challenges
eCommerce developments are taking place in every segment, but it’s worth noting that B2B companies are adapting to the eCommerce market at a different pace. Some are developing proprietary solutions from scratch while others are trying to maintain and update their existing solutions. 57% of B2B companies are facing challenges connected to the integration and updates of their legacy systems.
On top of that, 44% reported struggling with finding the right solution partner, and that can be easily explained — there is a lot riding on high-quality eCommerce software development. So the decision to hire eCommerce developers is one of the smartest ones a B2B company looking to venture into the eCommerce market can make.
The average shopper prefers self-serve operations
The face-to-face B2B eCommerce model used to be the only way to conduct business in this competitive market. These days, however, face-to-face B2B operations are giving way to remote and self-serve purchases. At different stages of B2B purchases, from 22% to 35% of B2B consumers prefer digital self-serve, and from 44% to 48% of them want to do things remotely. This trend, at least in part, stems from the fact that 73% of decision-makers in the B2B segment are now millennials, who are more open to self-serve and remote operations compared to older generations.
Content is key for eCommerce sales
B2B eCommerce trends may come and go, but content remains a key part of a successful marketing strategy for a B2B company. Quality content can often be the one thing that propels a B2B company to success and helps it stand out from the competition. And different types of content can work perfectly for different industries and marketing goals. Specifically, the most popular types of content used by B2B enterprises include: