Here’s What Online Shopping Will Look Like in 2021
Like most other industries, the E-commerce sector has been a major beneficiary of the substantial digital transformation experienced in the past decade. As the worldwide internet penetration rate keeps soaring rapidly, the number of consumers embracing digital purchasing also increases every year.
The meteoric rise in online shopping can also be credited to the global pandemic that struck towards the end of 2019 and spread in the better part of 2020. During this period, many jurisdictions put restrictive measures on their citizens to minimise social gatherings – some even going to the extent of imposing total or partial lockdowns. As such, most people opted to shop online at the expense of going to physical stores and open-air markets.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this online shopping trend has only gotten better in 2021, as you’ll find out below. But before we drill deeper, let’s look at some E-commerce stats revealing how consumers spent in 2020.
- As of 2020, there were 2.05 billion online shoppers worldwide (26.28% of the world’s population) – an improvement from 2014’s 1.32 billion. (Oberlo)
- By 2020, there were nearly half (49.2 percent) of e-commerce sales coming through mobile devices. (Statista)
- Experts had it that worldwide E-commerce sales would rake $4.2 trillion in 2020 (Statista)
- E-commerce sales in the Asian market reached approximately $1.4 trillion in 2020 (Go-Globe)
- Malaysia had a 2% E-commerce share of total retail in the APAC region in 2020 (Statista)
Will E-Commerce Continue to Grow in 2021?
You bet it will! E-commerce worldwide sales are expected to improve to a whopping $5 trillion by the end of 2021. Currently, the Asia-Pacific, APAC region leads the massive global growth charge, surpassing all other continents, with a predicted growth rate of 25% or $2.271 trillion. This represents, believe it or not, 64.3% of the world’s E-commerce spending.
So the big question is, why will online shopping only continue to grow in 2021? Here are some reasons why E-commerce will only become bigger and bigger, especially in the APAC region:
Selling online brings first-class accessibility to shoppers since such brands are no longer limited to conventional business hours. Whether there’s a heavy downpour or long queues, customers can still make their orders 24/7, 365 days a year, offering more convenience. More so, as the Coronavirus persists, most people are still reluctant to go to the stores, plus curfew guidelines may bar other people from shopping around. So the round-the-clock accessibility provided by online stores will lead to more E-commerce growth in 2021.
Having realised that they can shop with their phones, people will be more reluctant to resume the old-fashioned way in 2021. Imagine not having to battle the traffic, walk among crowds, or spend on travelling to buy your groceries, home accessories, clothes, etc. Isn’t that a trend you’d love to carry on with for the foreseeable future?
Social media integration
The pandemic has helped stimulate E-commerce growth, as most people have had lots of time in their hands to explore different things on social media. With E-commerce giants like Alibaba and social channels joining forces marketing products and services, things are just getting started. According to Facebook’s recent findings, 81% of participants revealed that they leveraged Instagram to research products and services, 83% discovered new products and services, and 80% felt the platform helped them decide what to purchase.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more reasons why E-commerce will continue to soar in 2021 and beyond, including:
- The ever-increasing internet penetration into the grassroots
- The urge for tailor-made shopping experiences
- The eye-catching flexibility of E-commerce, i.e., some stores accommodate free shipping of returns
5 Key E-Commerce Trends APAC Markets Need to Watch in 2021
As E-commerce takes centre-stage in the PAC region, so does the competition. And as the saying goes, “every battle is won before it’s ever fought.” Here are the five key trends that will shape the competition for online businesses:
The middle-class will fuel growth
With the booming APAC economy, most working middle classes have been rewarded with an increase in per capita income. Consequently, this has boosted consumer spending and internet penetration rate – key facilitators of E-commerce businesses.
As millions of residents in Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia continue to upgrade from lower to middle classes, we’re likely to see a rise in demand for various modest products. These include snack foods, affordable luxuries like cosmetics, and ready-to-drink beverages.
Social commerce will rise
The Gen-Z will most certainly uphold their digital purchasing power as they get older, and the millennials’ compounded love for social media will birth an E-commerce sub-set; social commerce.
With social commerce, brands will leverage influencers and ambassadors to encourage consumers to buy their favourite products and services via social media. For instance, Instagram users will see shopping bag icons on stores’ profiles, and upon tapping on a product’s photo, the price tag and other details will show.
AI will enhance the shopping experience
Besides social commerce, artificial intelligence will also boost E-commerce sales big time. We’ve already seen its application in chatbots that help online stores and websites give human-like responses to customers while also analysing critical behavioural trends.
Today, chatbots have begun emerging out of their chat boxes and are coming into the real world as smart robots. Though it’s still a work in progress in the Southeast, we’ll most likely see them in warehouses full swing boxing items and preparing them for shipping to the customers.
Shoppable video ads on social media will become more popular
With social media usage increasing year in year out, brands will promote their products and services via channels like TikTok and Instagram. As we saw in 2020 Facebook launching Instagram Shops and Shopify partnering with TikTok, we can only imagine that things will get even more impressive in 2021.
To prepare to take advantage of this upcoming trend, brands should record videos of their best products and post them on social media platforms.
Analytics will bloom
In the E-commerce world, data-driven analytics on customers won’t lose value any time soon. Presently, most brands focus on basic yet vital metrics like click-through-rates and conversion campaigns, showing where the most traffic comes from.
However, as we navigate 2021, brands will take a more in-depth approach to uncover richer data capabilities. For instance, segmentation isn’t going to be just about one-time sales. It will go deeper to analyse how customers interact with a business, who your price-sensitive customers are, their spending behaviours, and so on.
Are you ready to perch onto the E-commerce growth opportunities discussed above? Now is the time to start planning on how you’ll accommodate the imminent influx of middle-class shoppers, social shopping, AI-enabled analytics, among other trends.
The first step for preparing to embrace these developments is securing robust network connectivity for your online store. And that’s where we come in. At Allo Technology, we take pride in helping businesses achieve high-speed connectivity with our technology-driven broadband services. So let us take care of your technology problems as you focus on your business. Contact us today for more information!