Last updated: May 18, 2022 Online shopping trends 2022: Pandemic-era habits settle in

Online shopping trends 2022: Pandemic-era habits settle in


Forced to accelerate their e-commerce operations, retailers continue to be buffeted by COVID. In 2022, the omicron variant, supply chain issues, and inflation have challenged the retail industry.

But one thing is clear. Although the restrictions on brick-and-mortar retail have relaxed and more people are returning to physical stores, online sales continue to soar.

Worldwide e-commerce sales grew to an estimated $4.9 trillion dollars in 2021, up from $3.3 trillion dollars in 2019, according to Statista. Researchers at Statista estimate global e-commerce sales will top $7 trillion dollars by 2025.

As the industry continues to adjust to the continuing pandemic, what online shopping trends can retailers expect this year?

Post-pandemic online shopping trends

There will be no “back to normal” in retail. The sooner companies realize this, the better hand they’ll have compared to the competition.

COVID changed buying behavior dramatically, and many of those changes are here to stay.

  1. Omnichannel retail: Consumers expect seamless experiences
  2. BOPIS, delivery, and curbside pickup: Shoppers want options
  3. Personalization: Knowing shopper preferences is key to retail success
  4. Social commerce: Social media remains a growth channel
  5. The continued rise of the subscription model

The omnichannel online shopper

With their online shopping habits firmly entrenched, consumers today expect seamless, convenient experiences. Retailers need to provide a unified shopping experience across online channels and brick-and-mortar stores. Omnichannel retail remains a top online shopping trend.

Shoppers might find a product inside a store, but buy it online when they get home. Or they might buy online and pick up their purchase at a physical store or curbside.

BOPIS, also referred to as click-and-collect sales, more than doubled in 2020 in the US, according to eMarketer. Researchers expect BOPIS double-digit growth rates through 2024.

On the mark through personalization

If you’re a conventional retailer and think you can simply transfer your product range to the online segment on a 1:1 basis, you’re sorely mistaken. There’s more to successful e-commerce than just setting up a web shop.

It’s much more about examining the requirements and expectations of your customers. And then serving them as accurately as possible – and that’s easier said than done.

That’s because sectors are not alike, just like no two customers are alike. Eastern European fashion retailers are increasingly reaching their target groups through texting campaigns, for example, while this channel is hardly used in Germany at all. This shows how important it is to carefully align your offerings and marketing efforts to your customers and their preferences.

Social commerce gains more traction

Social commerce has been steadily growing in recent years, but took off in 2020 during lockdowns. Consumers using social media to make online purchases drove $475 billion in revenue two years ago. Statista estimates social commerce will reach about 3 trillion dollars by 2028.

Retailers are jumping on social commerce, especially if they want to reach the next generation of consumers where they live. Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and others offer a variety of options here. Gen Zers are expected to account for nearly two-thirds of the global social commerce spend, but older generations also are fueling the trend.

D2C brands drive subscription model

Direct-to-consumer brands like Dollar Shave Club and Blue Apron have driven the growing popularity of subscription services. Consumers love their curated products delivered on a regular schedule along with personalized offers.

COVID helped accelerate the growth. In 2020, more consumers decided to try a subscription service as they sought out safe, convenient ways to shop. Gartner predicts three-quarters of D2C brands will offer subscriptions by 2023.

Retail can be a tough business, but savvy brands that keep on top of changing consumer shopping trends can come out ahead.

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Kai Stübane

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