Over half of all retail spend expected to remain online, due to shift in consumer habits

Over two-thirds of global consumers want brands or retailers to provide a “more innovative” online shopping journey, all the way from the initial product search to the moment of purchase.

This is according to research from Wunderman Thompson Commerce’s Future Shopper Report 2022, which shows that social media, investment in eCommerce, and the increasing influence of retail marketplaces continues to drive consumer spending online.

Those surveyed said that 57 per cent of their spend is currently online.

But winning online means getting the service right. One of the biggest changes post-pandemic is the expectation and demands that consumers have of retailers. Nearly a quarter of global consumers now expect delivery in two hours – a challenge for many businesses, but one that is easier to address with digital products and services, which now account for 38 per cent of everything bought online.

These delivery expectations present a conundrum to retailers, with 48 per cent of consumers demanding faster delivery; 67 per cent agree that delivery has increased in importance and 66 per cent say that the time of delivery has become more important.

Unsurprisingly, this has been driven in part by Amazon – with nearly three quarters of consumers wishing brands and retailers offered services like Amazon Prime.

And the online world is creating enormous value for retailers, with 60 per cent of consumers planning to increase their usage of digital shopping channels. This has been driven by working from home, with many people saying they have shopped more online as a consequence.

Hugh Fletcher, Global Head of Consultancy and Innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce, commented: “With all the technology-driven change over the past two years, the basics of shopping remain the same – create unforgettable, reliable experiences that keep the consumers coming back for more. Margins are expected to get tighter and that means retailers and brands need to invest in digital platforms that satisfy shoppers.

“Long gone are the days of copying what Amazon, Walmart or the next best competitor is doing. Learn from expansive marketplaces or innovation technology providers, yes, but adopt your own ethos and take shoppers through a purchasing journey that sees them return for more.”

And discussing the impact that social networks have had on online shopping, Mr Fletcher added: “TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, marketplaces and eCommerce more generally offer shoppers an instant way to engage with, and purchase from, their favourite products and services. However, this means demands are higher, expectations are loftier, and consumers have a reduced patience; they want products and services at the click of a button and won’t settle for second-best. Couple this with the rising cost of living and retailers face a fight to get consumers’ cash as they choose where they shop, which brands to invest in and what digital services to use.”