Uncover the latest online shopping trends, learn how counterfeit protection is key to effective business strategies, and gain free access to our e-commerce research study.
The migration from offline to online shopping over recent years has been so great that global e-commerce sales reached 4.9$ trillion in 2021 and forecasts predict a 50% growth, reaching 7.4$ trillion by 2025.
As a consequence, online retailers are investing in innovation and technology to improve their digital offering. The objective is to exploit these new opportunities, keep up with current consumer trends, and control the growing level of counterfeit products appearing throughout online channels. Online sales is a competitive environment where brands, resellers, counterfeiters are all grappling for market share. Counterfeit protection is a must if brands are to control what has fast become one of their biggest (albeit illicit) competitors.
In this article we examine the latest e-commerce trends in 2022, supported by our exclusive consumer research.
E-commerce sales have never been greater than they are today, and whilst demographics such as Millennials and Gen Z may prefer to shop online, recent times have pushed older generations to the digital world. In fact, our exclusive research shows us that 97% of respondents have made an online purchase in the past 12 months.
Electronics (64%), fashion (57%), and beauty and personal care products (52%) made up the top 3 product categories for online purchases.
The same is apparent for direct-to-consumer brands and retailers, with many traditional brick and mortar stores suffering a drop in sales. Most have either introduced online services or scaled up their existing online business models.
However, gaining and retaining the attention of consumers amongst the noise of countless other brands is perhaps their greatest challenge within e-commerce today.
Digital advertising may have once been the answer to acquiring new customers online however, rising costs and diminishing returns have led to brands and retailers focusing on innovation and technology to enhance the user experience.
A rise in the cost of acquiring new customers has placed greater importance on the experience and service offered, and the relationships with existing customers to increase loyalty, LTV, positive reviews and ratings, and word of mouth.
Global marketplaces and social channels continue to multiply, making it easier for new online retailers to enter the world of e-commerce than ever before.This increase in competition makes it more challenging for brands to stand out, and as a result price wars often break out which do not support a sustainable long-term strategy. Companies who have failed to develop a trusting relationship with their target audience, and rely heavily on paid media to drive traffic and sales will suffer the most.
Building a strong brand, and making consumers feel safe whilst shopping for branded products online is a long-term strategy for business growth. For this reason, brand and product protection is a primary requirement in harbouring brand trust and loyalty to maximise their ROI.
Monitoring social channels for brand and product mentions is providing insights which allow for better management of brand image throughout various social networks. Visibility of what online followers are saying and sharing, plus tracking competitors allows brands to be more controlled, efficient, and effective with their responses and content sharing, enabling them to make informed decisions.
At the beginning of the year (2022) 57% of the global population held at least one social media account, so it's little surprise that social commerce and live-stream shopping are exploding this year.
Brands have long been utilizing social networks to target consumers with relevant product advertisements, but these recent developments are facilitating product sales, allowing consumers to complete a purchase without leaving the social app or platform.
This gives brands and influencers a new sales channel which offers end-to-end control of the entire sales process, with the ability to showcase products and engage with shoppers in real-time. In fact, the US livestreaming market reached $11 billion in 2021, with forecasts for it to hit $25 billion by 2023.
Many social networks are investing in live-stream commerce including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest. This latest shopping method has been particularly successful for the fashion, beauty, consumer electronics, and homeware industries, engaging viewers, who can ask questions in real-time and read the reviews of other like-minded shoppers.
It is expected that more brands and online retailers will quickly adopt this live streaming trend to improve brand appeal and pull in additional web-traffic through these social channels, with the aim of retaining existing customers whilst reaching new audiences.
As more and more consumers migrate from brick-to-click shopping, this relatively new, interactive shopping method bridges the gap between digital and offline, bringing the instore shopping experience online.
Building consumer trust in relation to the authenticity of the products which are advertised and sold throughout social networks will be one of the biggest challenges if brands are to reap the true rewards of this sales channel.
Our research shows that 16% of online shoppers do not currently trust that the products advertised on social channels are genuine, an additional 22% only trust certain social channels, whilst 47% are sceptical about authenticity of products advertised on social media. Brands must focus on protecting consumers, their brands, and their products throughout both the networks they operate and those they don´t.
As previously mentioned, social monitoring can also deliver valuable insights into how consumers perceive their products and brand to make informed business decisions, and to better position their offering.
Each consumer has their own unique behaviours and trends, and therefore expectancy for personalized shopping experiences, coupled with targeted communications is taken for granted. Hyper-personalization can help brands get noticed, build awareness, stronger relationships, and achieve their online sales objectives.
A combination of behavioural and real-time data utilizing AI technology is facilitating customized sales and marketing activities, targeting the most relevant audiences with the correct products and services.
Only brands and retailers that focus on hyper-personalization within a customer-first strategy will realize their full potential. Combining data and innovation with an omni-channel approach remains a key element in driving online sales this year.
Fake branded products and the misuse of brands online is growing alongside the unprecedented rise in ecommerce. Counterfeiters are piggybacking on the success of legitimate brands with the aim of profiting through the sale of fake branded goods.
Whilst 92% of online shoppers are aware that counterfeit products are advertised and sold online, three fifths of this group concede that they would be either unable or are unsure of their ability to decipher between real and fake.
So, it´s perhaps unsurprising to hear that 12% of those questioned have unintentionally purchased a counterfeit item whilst shopping online, once again highlighting the need for counterfeit protection. One in five (19%) have seen counterfeits listed on digital marketplaces, and 18% have spotted fakes being promoted on social networks.
As a result of these negative experiences, 30% stopped shopping on that specific channel, 28% left a negative review with the official brand, whilst a further 28% ceased buying from the official brand. This shows just how important it is for brands to take the issue of counterfeits seriously and the misuse of their brand seriously.