The way customers browse and buy is in constant flux. Here are nine statistics demonstrating why retailers are evolving the way they sell.
1. $4.44 trillion in sales
Even the pandemic couldn’t put the brakes on retail sales. Growth is so strong the National Retail Federation had to upgrade its annual forecast, and now estimates retail sales will exceed $4.44 trillion in 2021. But an expanding addressable market has dovetailed with increased competition — making differentiation through product and customer experience even more important.
2. 85% of consumers have changed the way they shop
Tired selling methods are no longer appropriate for the multichannel world. Eight in 10 Americans have changed their shopping habits, including increasing online shopping and use of delivery services. Almost three quarters (70%) are shopping online more than previously, including older generations that previously shied away from the web. In the UK, online sales now account for 60-70% of all sales at John Lewis, up from 40% before the pandemic.
3. Two thirds of Americans want to shop sustainability
2021 was the year responsible retail took off. More than two-thirds of Americans (67%) say they now consider eco-friendly practices in their purchase decisions, while 91% want an eco-friendly shipping option at the checkout. Almost half (45%) of Gen Yers and Zers in the US claim they refuse to buy from non-sustainable brands and retailers.
4. And 80% are willing to buy second hand
Reselling has boomed during the pandemic, with brands such as Levi’s, Adidas and Gucci embracing resale models. Four in five people say they have or are open to shopping second hand when money gets tight and 79% plan to cut their clothing budget in the next 12 months. Retailers have also realised that a smooth returns process is a must, particularly in apparel.
5. Six in 10 prefer touching and trying items in store
Some things change, but the allure of in-store shopping remains. Research shows that digital-only will never replicate the sensual benefits of shopping in store — 59% of shoppers choose in-store above online so they can feel, touch or try items. More than half (51%) value the ability to take home an item immediately, while 45% prefer stores to browse and discover new things.
6. A third of customers are buying via social media
Advertising and promotions are being disrupted, and marketers are shifting spend to new video, image and social channels fast. The likes of Walmart and Nordstrom are livestreaming on YouTube and TikTok, giving customers access to experts and the option to shop products in real time. More than a third (37%) of 18- to 34-year-old Americans have already purchased something via social media.
7. 40% of all eCommerce sales go through Amazon
Amazon continues to dominate online sales. Its Q3 US sales were up 10% in 2021, compared to the year before (when sales had already grown by 44%). Analysts expect the tech giant to account for 40.4% of all eCommerce sales in 2021. Established fulfilment channels, frictionless customer experience online, advanced use of data analytics and fast delivery services are all contributing to Amazon’s growth. Legacy retailers must ask: how can we replicate these capabilities?
8. Six in 10 are conscious shoppers
Old value propositions of price and product quality are making way for new purchase drivers. In 2021 employee rights and equality grew as differentiating factors; 58% of Americans consider themselves conscious consumers and say they’re more likely to shop at a store that gave its employees extra pay during Covid-19 (72%) or pays a higher minimum wage (71%). Four in 10 Millennials have prioritised shopping with Black or People Of Colour-owned stores.
9. 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online with their phone
eCommerce and mCommerce are exploding, with almost four out of five smartphone users now buying on their devices. Mobile shopping will grow as consumer apps, new contactless pre-pay forms and emerging AR and VR tech combines with customer devices to enhance the in-store experience. As the world becomes increasingly reliant on cell phones, retailers will need to learn to leverage these devices to drive brand experiences in bricks and mortar stores.
In such a fast-changing environment, the only way to stay relevant is to become more flexible. Flooid is working with Intel to enable retailers to accelerate innovation, scale faster and serve consistently across every channel. With Flooid’s unifying commerce platform and Intel’s edge-to-cloud capabilities and expertise in AI and advanced analytics, retailers can optimise, modernise and become more profitable.
Read more about the Flooid Intel partnership here.