The wide world of online shopping and online marketing – boy, have things changed
Here’s the deal fellow oldsters. In our lifetimes there have been incredible changes in three basic areas of personal behavior:
- How we communicate
- How we get information
- What we buy/how we shop
And it is all because of personal computers, related devices such as smart phones and the internet that attaches them all (Hope I’m not offending Mac users with the term “personal computer”).
Boomers and seniors didn’t grow up with this stuff. Technology has come a long way in our lifetimes and it is often difficult to keep up with the lightning speed at which it changes. But, we must, especially if we are going to forge into the area of internet marketing.
Since marketing is all about buying things, the third in my list above is what I will talk about. How we shop and buy things online and the rapid growth in this area.
Why do people shop online?
I got three words for you: Convenience, convenience and convenience. Look at the world today compared to world of our youth. Everybody is in hurry and we have come to live with a got-to-have-it-now mentality. And, as is the case with Amazon, you can go to one place and purchase just about anything imaginable! Consumers also have a great amount of research at their command and can find out about a product or service prior to buying. There are tons of reviews on just about everything under the sun and people know the good and the bad before they purchase. And, I hate to say this having come from a sales background, but many folks just don’t like a pushy salesperson breathing down their back! According to a report by Capgemini Digital Transformation Institute, 40 percent of consumer respondents said they see in-store shopping as a frustrating activity, even calling it a chore.
Online Shopping Today
Here is how it sits right now in 2018.
Worldwide online retail sales are growing. This year, 2018, it is expected to reach 8.8% of total retail spending compared to 7.4% in 2016. This year $2.842 trillion is expected to be spent on online shopping. (Yep, that’s trillion with a “t”)
Which countries do it the most?
- UK at 18% of total retail sales
- China at 16.6% of total retail sales
- Norway at 12.7% of total retail sales
- Finland at 11.5% of total retail sales
- South Korea at 12% of total retail sales
- Germany at 11.2% of total retail sales
- Denmark at 10.8% of total retail sales
- US at 8.9% of total retail sales (interesting to note that we are at 50% of the UK total)
- Canada at 8.2% of total retail sales
- Japan at 6.7% of total retail sales
Which age groups do the most online shopping?
- 35% of 18 – 29 year olds shop online at least once per week
- 37% of 30 – 39 year olds shop on line at least once per week
- 23% of 40 – 49 year olds shop on line at least once per week
- 17% 50 – 64 year olds shop online at least once per week
- 11% of those 65+ shop online at least once per week
Which devices are used for online shopping?
- PC – 76.9% of retail sales
- Tablet – 12.4% of retail sales
- Smartphone – 10.7% of retail sales
Females shop online at a slighter higher percent than males.
Online Shopping in the Future
Online retail shopping is expected to hit $4.878 trillion by 2021 or 17.5% of all retail spending – a whopping 72% increase in just the next 3 years!
Mobile devices will increase as the method for online buying. Business Insider predicts that by 2020, mobile payments will account for $503 billion in sales.
Developing countries will have the largest increases in online buying.
By 2021 Malaysia will see the biggest growth in online shopping with India close behind.
The number of global buyers is expected to rise from 1.79 billion in 2018 to 2.14 billion in 2021.
The percent of total internet users who buy online will go from 61.6% in 2018 to 65.2% in 2021
(The above statistics come from statistica.com)
Product visualization will become more important in the online buying process. New technologies for visualization like virtual dressing rooms or virtual reality will become ecommerce trends.
Same-day delivery. A Forrester report states that 29% of consumers would be willing to pay extra for same-day delivery.
What does it mean?
Everything is a double-edged sword, isn’t it? On the negative side it means fewer and fewer of those cute little shops you used to frequent and enjoy so much. One must also consider how the online trend will affect the labor force and local economies. Vibrant areas may become depressed as a result and unemployment may go up. It also means we will need more and more warehouse space (not a good thing in my eyes as this adds to urban sprawl).
On the positive side is less stress for shoppers fighting the ravenous hordes, less traffic and a more relaxed buying environment. For us affiliate marketers, it means more and more opportunity and income potential.
Can online totally replace brick & mortar?
Online shopping will continue to soar according to every article I have seen. Brick & mortar retailers such as Macy’s, Sears, Radio Shack and of late Toys R Us, are closing their physical stores at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, many did not embrace the coming trend of online buying and even viewed it with irritation. They took the approach of slashing prices and offering deals but not enhancing the customer experience.
But there is a plus side for brick & mortar stores. One writer said that “Online shopping is having an offline moment.” More ecommerce companies such as Bonobos, are investing in the very kind of physical stores they made seem obsolete. Leading the defection is online God Amazon who spent $14 billion to buy Whole Foods.
Online shopping is, at least presently, an unstoppable force. As technology becomes more sophisticated, so will we as consumers. We will demand more and want it faster.
I personally can’t see physical stores completely disappearing. You may recall (if you’re old enough) that when television made its debut, some said that the movie industry was toast. Didn’t happen. People now say that the print industry will die because you can get information online. That remains to be seen.
Taking all this into consideration, you can’t deny that there are huge opportunities for online marketing.
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