Well over one-fifth of all retail purchases will be made through online channels, according to eMarketer.
It predicted that in 2022, global eCommerce sales would, for the first time, surpass $5 trillion. The global epidemic compelled consumers to alter their shopping habits and hastened this growth.
You would hardly see customers walk into a store, browse the shelves, select an item and pay cash these days.
The customer journey today is a bit more complicated than it used to be. This is because it now involves more stages of both the physical and digital channels.
The view we have of the world is being changed by technological advancements, which further complicates the situation. Brands will have to stay updated with the factors influencing customer behavior, as we go into a new generation of eCommerce and make wiser choices about how they react to consumer demands and requirements.
Trends Influencing How Consumers Shop
Consumer trends when it comes to shopping show that more than half of shoppers make at least one internet purchase per week.
Many consumers purchase online more than once per week, which suggests they do it at least once a week or even more. Given that way over a billion people use Google to purchase every day, this shouldn’t really come as a surprise.
According to a study by Google and BCG. On average, 80% of new customers and 64% of repeat customers interacted with a digital point of interaction during a buy experience. Consumers swiftly proceed to the subsequent phase once they discover a product that piques their attention.
Looking at Google and Ipsos’s research on Google feed consumer insights. It shows that 91% of users of Google feed took some sort of action right away after learning about new goods, services, or companies. These actions included visiting a company’s website to find out more or making a direct purchase from an online offer.
Consumer behavior when purchasing apparel and fashion items online is more important than anything else.
The most popular category for online shoppers includes; fashion and clothing. Others include; electronics, media, and entertainment.
Consumer spending is the least on luxury apparel, baby and toddler, the newest investment trends, and vehicles and boats.
Businesses are adjusting to a new paradigm where the consumer is a co-creator.
Social media networks like TikTok are popular for their self-expression. This attracts users to expand and display their creativity in the areas of aesthetics, the home, and food.
There are better products today because brands have been able to support this creative energy. They have been able to use other reasonable perspectives to achieve this.
There are positions that influencers, celebrities, children, or regular product users occupy. These positions assist organizations in emphasizing their creative stance by demonstrating their collaboration.
Brands can emphasize how new goods and services are because of customer input. While encouraging customers to be at the center of product creation. Companies can use new social media platforms to communicate with brand advocates. They can also learn more about how to use their products and services, and how they are viewed and discussed.
The epidemic resulted in uncertainty, worry, financial difficulties, and significant changes. This affected consumer habits a lot. At the same time, some consumers had the option to reassess their life due to reduced FOMO (fear of missing out) and being forced to slow down.
There were benefits to spending more time at home. This included the creation of new products, visiting old favorites, and having time to experience certain things. Of course, every consumer’s experience is unique.
Consumers’ lives now involve a lot of technology, and some are worried about how this may affect them. Many people believe that excessive screen time is bad for their mental health and want to cut back on it.
Technology is developing quickly. Many are still skeptical about its true advantages in fields like the metaverse, NFTs, or cryptocurrencies. This is because it might make them feel detached.
Consumers are transitioning from the pandemic into the cost-of-living issue in many areas. Many of them face financial hardship due to inflation and rising energy costs. Consumers with lesser incomes and even those who are comfortable will want to get ready for upcoming changes. Because the economic outlook appears to be bad in many locations.
Traditionally, “local” has meant either domestic products showcasing their locally derived ingredients. Like French butter made from milk from Normandy or international brands that attempt to cater to local preferences. Such fast food is prepared using regional recipes. However, brands have advanced past this narrow interpretation of what it implies to be “local.”
Even though it’s still common for firms to draw inspiration from regional specialties. Brands are increasingly connecting localism with sustainability and transparency.
There is a popular perception that locally made goods are more friendly to the environment. Businesses actively promote the closer proximity of their local food to their customers. Firms are also letting customers look behind the scenes.
They do this through social media posts, live streams, and QR codes in order to be more open about where and how their products are manufactured.
Local is widely understood to mean “good for the community.” This is the reason that delivery-only establishments known as “dark stores” have caused controversy in many cities. While they provide the convenience of an extremely quick delivery, they could also annoy locals.
What Elements Affect Buying Decisions?
In the past, all it took to develop a following of devoted clients was a decent product and a competitive price. Today, other elements are beginning to overshadow the goods and prices for which firms sell their items.
Free shipping, sales, and discount codes
The most popular incentives include free shipping, sales, and discount codes.
Free shipping is the most popular option when consumers shop online. However, discount codes and sales products are very useful, particularly for customers in the US, UK, and Australia. Consumers increasingly prefer free delivery in France and Italy.
This preference is less pronounced than it is in other countries. Additionally, free returns are actually preferred by Italian shoppers over discount codes.
Incentives preferred by consumers:
- Free delivery
- Discounted or clearance goods
- Coupons at the checkout
- No-cost returns
- Bonuses or loyalty plans
- A bonus item with the purchase
- Try before purchasing
Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)
More consumers are utilizing a buy now, pay later (BNPL).
Customers are most likely to spend more money with a merchant that accepts their chosen payment method. Buy now, pay later (BNPL) is becoming more and more well-liked among consumers. Alternative payment options, like digital wallets, have also exploded in popularity.
Did you know?The Global Payments Report from Worldpay estimates that BNPL will account for 5.3% of global eCommerce transaction value by 2025, up from 2.9% in 2021.
A good number of Consumers claimed they had used BNPL, with the UK, US, and Australia accounting for the majority of users. This was when they were asked what payment method they had used when shopping online.
Shopping Trends in the World: Current and Future
According to Google’s search trends, “buy now pay later” searches have climbed globally by over 50% year-over-year (YoY). While those for “buy now pay later applications” have surged by over 200%.
Customers want customized ads and purchasing experiences
Looking more closely at shopper motives, consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by personalization. This is because they are ready to provide details in exchange for a more tailored shopping experience.
According to research, personalization increases loyalty.
According to a Google and Storyline Strategies study, if a brand provides a personalized experience with additional rewards and perks, 72% of customers are more likely to remain loyal to it. Not just the on-site experience. This is also true in marketing.
According to “Google Feed Consumer Insights,” a different survey from Google and Ipsos, 67% of Google feed users had purchased or intended to buy anything as a result of seeing a customized advertisement on their feed.
Only a small number of customers do not want to share any of their personal information online so they can have more customized experiences.
Consumers are unlikely to disclose personal information for targeted advertising. However, depending on the content or brand, people may be more inclined to share it.
Consumers Value Loyalty and Trust
The companies with which consumers exchange their information are important to them. When people believe in your business, you can give them individualized experiences. This might increase their loyalty. But how do you win people over and appeal to their values?
Honest and transparent brands are more popular with customers
According to a survey conducted by Google and the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., 22% of customers prefer to discover the owner’s name prior to patronizing a company. While it is obvious that consumers want to know more about your business, you should be aware of the types of information they are looking for.
Brand values that affect consumer choices:
- Being truthful and open about actions and how they affect the environment and society.
- Offering decent pay and perks to employees.
- Long-term, ambitious plans aimed at improving the state of the globe.
- Making purchases of companies and investing in goods having a significant social impact.
- Getting client input on what they can improve upon and sharing how they follow through on keeping their promises.
- Taking a stand on controversial political matters rather than avoiding them
Most people in Gen Z and those with higher incomes are concerned with sustainability. Compared to baby boomers, who reported being indifferent towards sustainability at 27%, only 8.5% of Gen Z said the same. This makes it even more crucial for firms that cater to a younger audience. They must emphasize their sustainability initiatives throughout their marketing and websites.
Shoppers and the Metaverse
Retail sales are already being influenced by augmented reality (AR). AR enables users to interact with virtual goods and other digital information layered in the real environment.
According to a study by Ipsos and Google Shopping, more than 90% of Americans either use or are considering utilizing augmented reality while shopping. 98% of those who have done so found it beneficial.
In addition, brands and stores that offer AR are viewed as being more innovative by 47% of consumers. The next evolution in digital experiences is mixed reality. This combines the two to create the most immersive experience.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are becoming standard practices for retailers. This allows users to explore digital worlds through technology like headsets. They are the future of digital experiences and future shopping trends. The Metaverse is the only place where that is more prepared to take root.
The Metaverse is described by eMarketer as “any mixed reality world. That while grounded in reality, it allows players to communicate and trade in immersive virtual areas. This is done by using augmented reality and virtual reality headsets and controllers.”
Furthermore, the Metaverse is still in its infancy and has the capacity to change and cause disruption. Even so, many well-known companies—from Samsung and Stella Artois to Nike and Gucci—are hopping on the Metaverse bandwagon.
How well-versed in NFTs are consumers?
Shopping in the Metaverse would be incomplete without mentioning non-fungible tokens. They are one of the most popular virtual commodities (NFTs). These are one-of-a-kind digital items purchased using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. You can buy artwork, sports collectibles, pictures, or music, and the ownership information is recorded on a blockchain.
NFTs are still unknown to most customers without being given a definition or an explanation. Contrary to the Metaverse, the majority of consumers claim to have poor knowledge of NFTs, with 26% claiming not even to be aware of their existence.
This is essentially constant across different countries. The idea of NFTs is still extremely new, but virtual worlds similar to the Metaverse have gained popularity over the years. This is because of movies like Tron, The Matrix, and Ready Player One, as well as video games like World of Warcraft, Second Life, and Minecraft.
The best grasp of NFTs is among Gen Z and those with higher income levels. With 13% reporting a high grasp and 29% reporting a weak understanding, Gen Z is the group most familiar with NFTs. In a similar vein, as income levels rise, so does knowledge of NFTs.
NFTs are a type of digital asset; therefore, it seems to reason that Gen Z, who grew up with technology, would have the most knowledge. Additionally, several well-known NFTs had exorbitant prices when they first entered the market.
For instance, in March 2021, Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, sold his very first tweet as an NFT for way over $2.9 million.
Consumers are most interested in acquiring the following NFT categories:
- Gaming and virtual property
- Social and personal tokens,
- Virtual Reality
- Expensive Good Trading
- Athletics and e-sports
Customer interest in NFTs is mostly centered around music and gaming and less on the sports and luxury goods trade. Yet, it’s important to keep in mind that the NFT market is still quite young and prone to volatility.
According to news sources like mainstream publications such as The Wall Street Journal and ones like Decrypt. There is a large decline in the NFT market. Brands may want to join the market cautiously or, at the very least, with a clear understanding. They must understand their target audience and keep a keen eye on the market’s current conditions.
Do Consumers Want to Pay with Cryptocurrency?
Currently, bitcoin is, without a doubt, the most well-known of these progressive movements. According to data from Statista, Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, was created in 2008, and as of February 2022, there were about 10,000 other cryptocurrencies. But they also assert that the top twenty cryptocurrencies make up about 90% of the market.
Cryptocurrencies have been around for over ten years. Yet, they just began to gain popularity in recent times.
According to statistics from Google Trends, cryptocurrency started to increase in early 2021. As previously stated, buyers would have to use bitcoin to purchase NFTs in the Metaverse. What about different online purchases, though? Do consumers want to make payments using cryptocurrencies?
Customers would be more likely to use bitcoin as payment if given the option. The main reason why consumers don’t use cryptocurrencies is that they don’t yet understand them. If they did, they would use them immediately. Notably, the fact that businesses do not accept it as payment is another crucial element. However, users will likely rise as more companies begin to accept cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as payment.
More than ever, brands today need to put the client at the heart of everything they do. To influence the purchasing decision of consumers, businesses will have to adapt to specific customer preferences.
This includes getting the shopping experience personalized and also offering the right incentives and payment options. But merely providing an excellent online shopping experience is not sufficient to foster loyalty.
Shoppers also like companies that prioritize sustainability. The younger generations are indeed willing to pay more for such products. It’s still too early to say whether or not futuristic technology like the Metaverse, NFTs, and bitcoin will become commonplace. Consumers are currently displaying a growing interest in these novel technologies. There is also a general desire to try out making purchases in the Metaverse and using bitcoin as payment.