Accurate analytics and up-to-date statistics are some of the most valuable assets in a marketer’s toolset. They help you understand consumer behaviors, refine your marketing strategies and make accurate sale predictions. Today, it’s a well-known fact that the consumer journey begins online, but according to the latest statistics, that journey can end in numerous ways, from store visits to phone calls or online conversions.
Read on to discover the most relevant retail statistics from the last few months, and learn exactly what you need to do in order to increase your conversion rate and improve your inventory predictions.

Everything starts with online research

As mentioned above, online research is (in most cases) the starting journey for most consumers, as over 80% of consumers do online research before buying anything. And you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that 77% of consumers do their research from mobile devices.

Video marketing is vital for conversions

For the past few years, marketing experts have been predicting that video marketing will eventually be the most efficient marketing strategy, and now we finally have the data to back this prediction. According to a study conducted by the Aberdeen Group, video content delivers up to 66% more qualified leads as well as a 54%increase in brand awareness. Not only that but 46% of consumers watch more video ads online than they do on the TV. All this data shows that videos are the consumer’s preferred type of content. However, keep in mind that consumer’s attention span is now much shorter than it has ever been. It’s estimated that you now only have about 2.7 seconds to capture the attention of your audience, so use that time wisely.

Modern consumers rely on automatic deal finders

We did mention above that the consumer journey starts online in most cases, but traditional research is proving to be too time-consuming for modern customers who are now turning to apps and browser extensions that automatically find deals for them. 72% of consumers say they do this to save time, while 63% do it because they are more confident to buy a product whose price is recommended by an automatic deal finder.

E-commerce continues its slow but steady evolution

For the past few years, e-commerce sales have been growing by approximately 15-20% per year. Despite this obvious evolution, over 40% of small businesses still don’t even have a web presence, not to mention an online store.

Mobile retail is growing

It’s not only the research that is done via mobile devices, as today’s consumers are finding it easier and easier to also shop from mobile devices. According to a study performed by OuterBox, 79% of smartphone users have made at least one mobile purchase in the last few months. The holidays seem to be the busiest time for mobile consumers. Over the 2018 winter holidays, more than 40% of all ecommerce purchases were made from a mobile device.

Consumers want personalized shopping experiences

Making customers feel valued has always been an efficient marketing strategy, but this is not more important than ever. Based on a survey done by Accenture, 75% of modern customers are more likely to buy from a brand that addresses them by name and uses their purchase history to make shopping recommendations.

Flexible return policies build trust

Trust for online store recommendation continues to grow with consumers, that being said, some purchases are oblivious to the fact that online purchases are not as safe as store purchases. As such, it is no wonder that 60% of online shoppers review a retailer’s return policy before making a purchase, favoring brands with flexible and easy to understand return policies.

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Free deliveries have a high impact

No one likes to pay shipping fees, so it should come as no surprise that 90% of online consumers are more likely to make a purchase that comes with free delivery.

Physical shops continue to lose terrain

For a long time, consumers used to say that they prefer to try something before buying it, but according to the latest data, the popularity of physical shops is decreasing at a dramatic rate, with only 23% of retail consumers still declaring that they prefer a traditional shopping experience.

Search engines reclaim their top position on traffic and conversions

Social media has certainly made an impact in online shopping trends and behavior, however, you shouldn’t count out consumers that are turning back to search engines for both research and purchases. According to the latest data, search engines generate over 300% more traffic than social media posts. Moreover, the second page of search engine results is still the best place to hide a body, as over 75% of people don’t read past the first page.

For most businesses, the difference between success and failure lies in meticulous planning. When it comes to retail businesses, that couldn’t be more accurate.
Sales forecasts are essential in planning the development of your retail business, to avoid running out of stock and risk losing business, and it helps you avoid overstock which can hinder your cash flow.
When it comes to predicting the future of retail sales, there are two elements that matter: historical data and prediction analysis. Over the years, Curve has managed to stand out in front of other forecasting solutions, due to the fact that it provides accurate sales forecasts based on machine learning technology. The fact is, trends, forecasts and statistics in the retail industry are rapidly shifting, so to help give a clearer picture of what the industry can expect we’ve put together The Future of Retail Sales by Curve.
Due to emerging technologies and a relatively positive economic background, consumer habits are now changing faster than ever. In 2019, retail sales in the US are expected to grow about 3.3%, summing up to over $5.5 trillion. Significant growth of over 15% is expected in e-commerce sales, as more and more small businesses are transitioning to the online shopping landscape. Many, traditional retailers who will be unable to adapt to the new shopping trends will see their shops close, which could cause a slight instability in the retail market for a short while.

Curve Can Help Your Sales Team Predict The Unpredictable. Find Out How

Voice commerce and augmented reality are just a few of the many technologies that are expected to reshape the future of retail. How much these new technologies will affect your industry and whether or not you will be able to adapt to these changes will depend heavily on your sales data management and forecasting tools. Some industries will be more heavily affected than others, and only your own historical data will be able to predict how much and how fast your business will need to adapt.

The Automation of Shopping

While most people enjoy shopping, to the extent of their own budget, there are certain types of shopping experiences which we would all like to delegate. In the past few months, there’s been an uptick in what’s know as chore shopping, which is the act of buying commodities, things that we don’t really want, but which are still very much needed for a decent life. These types of repetitive purchases started to be automated in 2018 by big players like Amazon through subscriptions, auto-renewals, same day purchases and so on. So, if your business finds itself in the commodity area, you will absolutely need to adapt it to these new shopping trends.

Considering that 80 percent of consumers research items online before making a purchase, one can see that the future lies in a convergence between online and offline sales. Retailers now understand the advantages of the internet for sales and productivity boost.

Personalization For Survival.

While nobody really likes to shop for commodities, when it comes to luxury products, people still enjoy a traditional shopping experience, especially when it is tailored to their own preferences. For example, customers will still want to visit physical stores to buy products that would bring them joy, pleasure and long-lasting memories. However, as the market becomes more and more competitive, the retailers that will thrive will be those who will be able to offer their customers personalized shopping experience. As more of the products we purchase are mass-produced, consumers are starting to appreciate the value of customized items or items that are tailored to their specific needs.

According to a recent survey done by ConsumerThink, more than 64% of consumers don’t have a problem with retailers that save their data, as long as they actually do receive a customized shopping experience and their data is not shared with third parties. In other words, a big part of the major changes that we can expect will involve putting the customer, and not the product, at the center of the shopping experience.

Algorithms Will Eliminate Guess Work

Some people have a natural flair for business, being able to accurately predict new sales trends. Whether this is pure luck, or a native ability to recognize shopping patterns is still up for debate. While this might work for some of the smaller retailers, it’s far from being a solid sales forecasting strategy for large scale retailers. The good news is that in today’s technologically advanced times, no one has to rely on their gut. You just have to find accurate data management and sales forecasting solutions that can leverage consumer data for you.

According to eMarketer, online shopping now accounts for almost 10% of total retail sales, making e-commerce a significant factor in traditional retail and this trend is likely to continue in the years ahead.
The US Census Bureau figures show that over the last two decades, online retail sales in the US have grown rapidly, rising from 5 million in 1998 to 389 million in 2016. Additionally, in Europe, Enterprises Total Turnover from E-commerce represented 15% in 2014 and grew to 19% in 2017 (Source: Eurostat).

Growth per category

As one would expect, electronics dominate e-commerce sales, followed by miscellaneous products such as office supplies, gifts, novelty, and clothing, based on the US Census Bureau figures. On the flip slide, ranking very low, are categories such as food and beverages, that have a very small share of online sales. This will surely evolve in the coming years, as it already did in 2016 when shares of online sales nearly doubled in that year alone for consumable products.

Amazon e-commerce statistics

  • Amazon is the leading online retailer with net revenue of $232.88 billion in 2018. (Statista)
  • Amazon has over 100 million Amazon Prime members. (Jeff Bezos in a letter to shareholders)
  • Other sources estimate that there are over 95 million Amazon Prime members in the United States. (Statista)
  • On average, two in five US consumers (41%) receive one to two packages from Amazon per week. That number jumps to half (50%) for consumers ages 18-25, and 57% for consumers ages 26-35. (Walker Sands)
  • In the last six months, 83% of US consumers have made a purchase on Amazon. (BigCommerce)

Recent Trends

More recently, the retail industry is undergoing two significant shifts. The first is technological, and the other a result of changes in consumer behavior. It’s the stores that understand and overcome both of these major shifts that will thrive. Alternatively, retailers that don’t will go the way of Circuit City, Borders, and Blockbusters.
Online retail has grown 300% between 2000 and 2018, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. During the same time period, however, department store sales have dropped almost 50%. In 2018, JCPenney, Gap, and Victoria’s Secret announced the closures of 300 stores.
Although shoppers will probably never wholly abandon brick-and-mortar stores, they expect retailers to offer a convenient online alternative. Most brand names are responding while still trying to get shoppers into their stores for pick-up of large items. In order to keep customers coming back to physical store locations, retailers must use a combination of branding, service, and pricing to convince shoppers to get dressed, get in their cars and drive to pick up merchandise.

E-commerce cart abandonment statistics

  • The average global cart abandonment rate in Q3 of 2018 was 76.9%. (SaleCycle)
  • 58.6% of US online shoppers have abandoned a cart within the last 3 months because “I was just browsing/not ready to buy.” (Baymard Institute)
  • The top three reasons US online shoppers give for abandoning a cart during checkout are high extra costs, the need to create an account, and a complicated checkout process (these are the survey results after removing the “I was just browsing/not ready to buy” segment). (Baymard Institute)
  • The average open rate for an abandoned cart email is 15.21%, and the average click-through rate is 21.12% for SmartrMail users. (SmartrMail)
  • The average revenue per email for an abandoned cart email is $27.12 (for SmartrMail users). (SmartrMail)

US vs. The Rest of the World

Despite the assumption, the US is one of the largest consumers of the online marketplace, alas, it is not. In the end, China ranks first place for the largest online marketplace followed by the United States respectively.
According to Nielsen’s Global Connected Commerce, The foothold the US has in the global economy is slowly declining with global shares expected to decline by 16.9% by 2020. In terms of industry, South Korea leads the way in fashion and beauty products while Japan remains ahead of the curve for music and stationery purchases.
Sales forecasting accuracy is crucial across the retail chain and Curve’s powerful Sale’s Prediction engine often exceeds traditional forecasting methods by determining the impact of sales history, consumer trends, holidays and more…
“Retail demand forecasting is one of the hardest analyses to get right: Forecast too little and you have empty shelves, and forecast too much and you may be stuck with excess inventory. Did you know that Amazon earns more than one-fifth of its North America retail revenue because local stores can’t forecast accurately? Customers try to purchase the product at a store in these scenarios, but the stores are out-of-stock and so shoppers look to Amazon.

Curve’s Sales Forecasting Solution Results

As made clear in the points above, In the retail industry, time is money. For enterprise retail business owners of rapidly changing consumer goods, speed and accuracy of decision making are critically dependent upon accessing relevant and accurate sales forecasts. Data compiled through machine learning based sales forecasts can translate into the significant and valuable edge needed to win in your marketplace. Curve helps enterprise retail businesses minimize the manual guesswork while gaining a better understanding of future sales patterns and anomalies at a more detailed level.
Curve has helped retail businesses:
– Decrease overstocking by 14%
– Improve understocking by 16%
– Increase sales by 10%
– Grow profitability by 11%

In Conclusion

Developing an effective sales strategy for your online store requires knowledge about e-commerce statistics, trends, and consumer habits. I hope this article gave you the insight to help you get started on that strategy, and that you found some of the answers you were looking for. Have you stumbled upon any surprising e-commerce statistics lately? Reach out to us and let us know!
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According to a report published by eMarketer in 2016, the trade and commerce sector will experience double-digit growth until 2020. During this period sales are expected to increase by over $4 trillion.
It’s clear that only a handful of industries can boast about such a beaming future. To make sense of our rapidly changing industry, we’ve compiled for you some of the most disruptive and potentially beneficial trends in e-commerce that marketers and consumers can expect to see in the very near future.
Greater Integration of Machine Learning and AI
Given the increase in marketing and business automation, it is inevitable that the commercial sector will continue to be influenced by a deeper level of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the years ahead.
In fact, machine learning is already integrated into today’s leading e-commerce retailers. In the upcoming years, however, additional e-commerce retailers will increasingly utilize the many benefits that machine learning offers in order to maintain their competitive edge.

Additionally, product recommendations, upsells, product bundles, as well as inventory forecasts, are also poised to become even more accurate and helpful. As a move away from keyword and human-based recommendations occur, merchants with a wider range of signals for product purchases history will become evident. In essence, retailers will have the power to know what the customer wants, before the customer does.

REACH YOUR SALES AND INVENTORY GOALS WITH CURVE

Voice search
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to talk about retail search without mentioning the advent of voice search. In the near future voice will be one of the leading drivers of online sales innovation, specifically with consumers on the go.

With an increase in the adoption of smart home appliances such as amazons echo and Googles Home, retail purchases are witnessing the incorporation of voice search,
Voice search, particularly in the smart speaker market, is not just a matter for convenience and neatness anymore, but it is the next stage for customer loyalty. For instance, the sales completed via Amazon Echo units also provided retailers with many new selling opportunities, with upsell rates of more than 60% for some product lines.
Faster shipping and better delivery logistics
One of the very few remaining differentiators when it comes to e-commerce sectors is the time and quality of delivery logistics that a retailer carries out. As we all know, Amazon is the indisputable king of e-commerce delivery and seems to remain firm on its throne for the coming future. Even more intriguing is the data on Amazon’s fastest deliveries- just eight minutes for a forehead thermometer and a mere nine minutes for 5 pints of ice cream.
We’re not too far away from a time when we can expect Amazon and other e-commerce retailers to step up their logistics game and offer their customers lower delivery times and better services.
Unprecedented growth in mobile checkout systems and IoT
These days, without mentioning the use of mobile checkouts and payment systems, anticipated e-commerce trends would not be complete. Mobile payment has been one of the most brilliant changes to the way people shop since e-commerce has skyrocketed. The mobile payment market has increased steadily since 2015, and now there are ten different systems available today. These also include Apple pay and Google pay as well as proprietary offerings from different banks including Chase and Softbank.
With ongoing innovations and new technologies being introduced daily, the e-commerce sector has and will continue to witness one of the fastest evolutionary shifts that the industry has ever seen.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past year it’s that customer demands are constantly changing. Online shopping has become more accessible than ever, customer expectations are increasing, which means that online merchants need to be smarter about the industry. So we thought now would be a perfect time to share a few global eCommerce trends to keep an eye on this year.

AUGMENTED REALITY IS CHANGING THE GAME

Long, boring product descriptions have taken a backseat to much more visual experiences. These days, consumers prefer eye-catching visuals that give them a look into their products. Physical stores give you the liberty of viewing a product that interests you. The same can be said about online shopping as well. However, it does not end there. We’re not talking images and videos of your product. We mean high-quality visuals that are backed by artificial intelligence. This year we’re bound to start seeing more augmented reality experiences being baked into the shopping experience.  

Sounds cool, but how does it work? Let’s say you want to buy a lamp for your bedroom. You’ve decided on the one you like, but how do you know if it will look good in your bedroom? Integrating AR helps give your customer a sense of what the product will look like in a real-world environment. It allows consumers to zoom in, turn around, and view every part of a product that they are interested in. All in all augmented experiences and innovative visualizations are definitely on the list for 2019.

BRICK AND MORTAR BACK WITH A BANG

Yes, online shopping is starting to overtake physical stores, but it looks like the latter has resurrected from its grave. Amazon, the world’s largest and strongest eCommerce giant put up a very real, very physical, brick and mortar store at the big apple, New York. But why would a benchmark performer in the eCommerce industry put up a physical store? Kind of defeats the purpose, don’t you think? You would be wrong. Consumers flocked to this outlet, and Alibaba, Amazon’s competition from the east followed suit by setting up an Alibaba store as well. In fact, these stores are a sight to behold. They are architected the same way that it looks on the website or app. For example, the Amazon store has categorized the aisle according to various headings that you find on the website, like “trending now”, “most relevant”, etc.

Digital kiosks are newly trending as well. A digital kiosk works pretty much like digital signage, by offering product details and visualization. However, these kiosks are more than just a platform to advertise your product. Customers can view products that are not available on the store, click on the purchase code, and opt for home delivery of the same. Just like your online shopping experience, but in a physical store.

AI & MACHINE LEARNING, REDEFINING THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE

In 2019 machine learning will propel the shopping experience to a whole other level. Picture this. Online shoppers are given smart product bundle recommendations that fit their purchase behavior, while on the merchant’s side, machine learning delivers accurate forecasts of sales trends, by location, timeframes and down to individual product SKUs. Machine learning delivers a win-win solution for both merchants and shoppers. Machine Learning solutions such as Curve’s will also be of utmost importance as far as driving data insights are concerned.

Combining these trends can prove to be extremely beneficial for your e-Commerce business. The year has already started, so plan out your business strategies with these new trends.