E-commerce: statistics and trends
E-commerce was one of the few sectors that recorded significant growth in 2018, both from the point of view of sellers and buyers: sales grew exponentially and there were many online stores that saw the light.
The trade and sale of goods and services via the internet is a system that is spreading rapidly around the world. Online shops in a variety of industries are popping up on all sides of the globe.
With this in mind, this industry represents an incredible business opportunity. Let’s see the most important trends.
E-commerce around the world: some data
More than 4 million people worldwide have access to the internet and, during 2017, 1.79 million people made online purchases. More than half of the internet users use the internet to shop are in the Asian region: in 2018, China has established itself as the largest e-commerce market in the world, followed by the U.S.
In Europe, the record goes to Germany, the United Kingdom and France, but Italy and the Netherlands have also seen an exponential growth in the electronic market. The forecast is for an increase of 14% every year, until 2021.
Statistics say that Italy is aligning with the rest of the world: 74% of companies are gearing up to launch themselves into the universe of online sales through their platforms or on marketplaces such as Ebay and Amazon, using internal and external resources . And, according to data collected by Bilendi for Idealo (idealo.it), in 2018 76% of Italians made at least one online purchase per month.
The largest slice of e-commerce revenue in Italy belongs to the field of travel and leisure: air tickets, travel packages, hotels, sports equipment for shows and events.
The following are the health and wellness sectors, as well as fashion and nutrition, which have seen an estimated growth of 24 to 39%.
In detail, it is possible to draw up a ranking that sees the health and beauty sector first (47%) followed by fashion (46%) food in third place (43%).
A curious and interesting increase is in online shopping malls, which have seen an increase of 113%!
Buying: from process to path
There are about 25 million Italian users who buy online. The most widely used platforms are marketplaces such as Amazon and price comparisons – Italians are very attentive to the wallet, and it is also thanks to the ability to save money that they rely on online purchases.
92% of Italian users say they compare prices online and offline, reaching a level of interaction with physical stores until now only imagined. Today, the purchasing process consists of several phases, which involve overlapping touch points online and in store.
Payment methods also play a decisive role in the purchasing process: they mark the fate of a sale, becoming a link between the user and the product. The most popular payment methods are the credit card (46% of purchases) and the digital wallet (35% of transactions).
First the experience, then the purchase: the omnichannel phenomenon
The natural evolution of retail and the arrival on the market of giants like Amazon are responsible for much of the crisis of many traditional stores that, in recent years, have been forced to close.
The key to the success of survival-driven companies would seem to be a multi-channel strategy that ensures the buyer has a 360-degree experience. Users, in fact, are not just looking for products to buy, but experiences to live. Buying is only part of the process. What they are really looking for is a multisensory and multi-channel experience that can guide them towards the conversion and finalization of the purchase. The key to the success of survival-driven companies would seem to be a multi-channel strategy that ensures the buyer has a 360-degree experience. Users, in fact, are not just looking for products to buy, but experiences to live. Buying is only part of the process. What they are really looking for is a multisensory and multi-channel experience that can guide them towards the conversion and finalization of the purchase.
Among people’s preferred strategies when it comes to shopping is to observe a product physically in the store and then buy it online, in order to take advantage of discounts and promotions. Traditional stores would thus take on a new dimension: showrooms and experience generators.
This is why integration between online and offline is necessary, focusing on flexible marketing strategies. The buyer must be followed, stimulated and guided in the purchase. Providing customers with engaging activities is the mission of next-generation physical stores, or at least those that are able to adapt to new market needs and always-increasing social demands.
In this regard, to make the shopping experience unique and up to the expectations of customers, it is possible to make use of technologies such as Augmented Reality and the Internet of Things.
A crucial role in this area is played by mobile. More and more people are using smartphones: in 2017 mobile searches exceeded desktop searches and in 2018 one in two users used their smartphone for shopping and price comparison. In detail, 52.5% of users used their smartphone, 38.9% pc or laptop and only 8.6% preferred the tablet.
Branding online: what strategies to adopt and what investments to focus on
Online promotion of products and brands is critical, but not as obvious as you might think. It is, in fact, a critical point for many companies that launch their own e-commerce. Having to rethink a strategy of promoting your brand, in a world like that of the network, managed by rules and dynamics different from the physical one, becomes a difficult mission.
Using well-planned strategies and developing skills in managing new tools becomes key. In 2017 investments in this regard were related to keyword advertising channels, social media marketing, SEO and the use of social media, first of all Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.
Italian companies are understanding the new trends that drive the economy and are gearing up to focus on the most effective investments and web marketing strategies. To penetrate other countries it is necessary to take care of their presence on the most popular marketplaces, but this is not enough: the user, now more than ever, is at the center of everything and needs a global and articulate take charge. It must be accompanied in the discovery of the brand, in the emotional and sensory experience reserved for him and guided in the process of buying, towards loyalty.