The 2020 eCommerce trends are looking, unlike anything we’ve seen before. The velocity of these changes has thrown significant chaos into the personal and business lives of us all.
Several eCommerce trends began to appear as many of us have hit the one-month mark of at-home lockdowns. While some divisions are boom, others have been devastated. The economics of transacting online is shifting daily. Now, who would have thought that toilet paper could be worth more than gold?
1. Analyzing Search Behavior Helps Identify Key 2020 E-commerce Trends
Coronavirus is affecting which categories rise and fall in eCommerce demand. Activities made at home, like crafting, are increasing.
Different categories are ramping at various times of the year than they usually would. Search Engine Journal shows the trend that in the UK, searches for garden furniture are increasing much earlier in the year than they typically would, as more people continue spending time at home.
Likewise, some categories are way downhill. Luxury and event-oriented purchases are dropping because not many people need formal wear when they’re on lockdown at home.
Tip: To identify which eCommerce product categories are rising and falling, use Google Trends.
2. Content Marketing, PPC Ads, and Email Will Drive eCommerce Traffic
The challenge has just begun once an eCommerce store is set up. After the virtual doors open, how will shoppers discover their way inside? An up-to-date study from GoodFirms, as reported by PYMNTS.com, shows the key trends for pushing eCommerce traffic in 2020 will be email marketing, content marketing, digital marketing, and PPC ads.
“Around 82 percent said pay-per-click (PPC) ads attract consistent traffic for eCommerce. About 76 percent voted for content marketing, and digital marketing was the third most favored strategy. Another 46.62% cited email marketing as highly effective.”
3. PR and Earned Traffic Give an eCommerce Boost
In this current situation, some of the eCommerce trends so far in 2020 are unique; however, some traditional techniques like earned media coverage may work as well.
Andrew Hyde, a co-owner of the Trident Booksellers & Cafe in Boulder, Colorado, utilizes eCommerce to fill the gap while social distancing measures and lockdown are in place. Hyde ramped up his eCommerce store when the coronavirus hit, with a twist — Trident is offering “Mystery Bags,” holding four books and a bag of tea or coffee for a flat rate. They’ll also deliver and drop them directly at your doorstep by bicycle.
Things were moving somewhat slowly, and then the story was picked up by Atlas Obscura, a media property with over 1.7 million followers and fans on Twitter and Facebook.
Things have now picked up a bit.
Especially for smaller businesses, the amount of traffic and awareness can be driven by an authentic and engaging story shared with media with a media channel through PR outreach activities. They have the potential to drive more traffic to an eCommerce store than can be pushed through a limited paid or social media budget.
4. Ecommerce Spending on Essentials Is Rising High
The performance branding company, WITHIN, has been tracking ad spending, revenue, and other 2020 eCommerce trends as COVID-19 has changed the online scenery. In particular, eCommerce revenue for essentials brands has ramped considerably instead of a benchmark set in mid-February. The conversion rate and advertising spend are higher compared to the benchmark as well.
5. Typical Supply and Demand Patterns Have Been Interrupted
In regular times, supply and demand patterns are nearly predictable. Factors such as seasonality and consistent promotional trends can affect eCommerce supply and demand curves. Still, overall, using time series data, things can typically be modeled reasonably well using time series data.
The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has interrupted those patterns. In many cases, historical modeling cannot predict the eCommerce trends for 2020.
Depending on the product, both supply and demand-side patterns are being interrupted. When there is suddenly high supply and low demand, eCommerce retailers notice they need to sit tight and hold on to non-perishable inventory or completely change their messaging or pricing. The converse can be valid as well in cases where products hold high demand and low supply.
6. 71% Of Brands Sense They Are Behind the Ecommerce Curve
A study that Kantar and Profitero recently released indicated that “17% of brand leaders believe their organizations are ahead of the curve when it comes to organizing for eCommerce, compared with the vast majority (71%) who report they are merely keeping pace or catching up.”
The study proceeded to say “The challenges of managing profitability and supply chain are also seen to weigh heavily on manufacturers: 50% of brand respondents ranked pricing and profitability as their biggest eCommerce challenge, while 40% of respondents say that adapting existing supply chains to fit eCommerce is their next biggest challenge — a concern that is only being magnified by the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis.”
7. Weight Training Is Up; Gym Bags Are Downhill
The folks over at Visual Capitalist have completed an analysis of eCommerce trends in 2020 vs. the same period a year ago for dozens of categories.
In addition to the skyrocketing food and healthcare items, at-home exercise equipment like resistance bands and weights are up, while other exercise and fitness-related items designed for outdoor use, like gym bags, golf clubs, and swimwear, are down and facing many challenges.
8. E-Commerce Merchants Selling Through Amazon Have Been Whipsawed
At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Amazon restricted some “non-essential” products deliveries into its warehouses. This means that if an eCommerce seller was selling through Amazon, they might not ship products to their customers, even if they received orders for those goods.
According to ROI Revolution, Amazon has reopened its shipping services for these “non-essential” goods in mid-April 2020.
Amazon has freshly been on a hiring spree, hiring over 100,000 workers, which may be the reason for the expanded shipping capacities for these eCommerce merchants through their platform.
9. CPC Down, Roas up in 2020 for Ecommerce
Common Thread, a full-service agency tracking eCommerce coronavirus data, has discovered that the economics of eCommerce are favorable vs. the comparable period, with Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) and Cost per Click (CPC), and other metrics moving in positive ways. This eCommerce trend is fascinating since it means that those merchants who are qualified to execute in the current market aggressively can do so with more engaging unit economics.
10. Italian Fashion and Other Industries May Be Turning Around
COVID-19 struck Italy hard, and the country was one of the first nations outside of China to be severely affected by coronavirus. When Italy went into lockdown, both economic and social activity across the country were severely cut down.
Orders in the Italian eCommerce fashion division dropped over 40% during the pandemic, with revenues falling 26%, according to eConsultancy. However, as COVID-19 cases in Italy have plateaued, the industry is showing signs of recovering. Early data shows a revenue increase of 13% throughout the last week of March. While still down from pre-pandemic levels, the trend and trajectory are promising.
E-Commerce Gives Flexibility During the Coronavirus Pandemic
It’s an intelligent move for organizations to add eCommerce capabilities today if they don’t already have them. As we’ve seen from the numerous lockdowns across the globe, many businesses, such as restaurants, rushed to set up eCommerce capabilities to survive merely.
As these further eCommerce trends from the coronavirus pandemic show, some sectors notice increases in orders and revenue, while others decrease. And across the board, the wildly different patterns in supply chain resilience, economics, and purchase behavior need to be taken into account.
The businesses that did have eCommerce capabilities set up and the organizations that became aligned with the business models that are viable given the current state of affairs are the ones that are most likely to grow in the long term. If lockdowns continue, or if municipalities get into a rhythm of “rolling shutdowns,” eCommerce capabilities will be required to sustain both in-person and online interactions and guarantee business continuity.